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Recipe: How To Roast A Chicken

Friday, November 07, 2014

There are, of course, many ways to roast a chicken.  High heat or low heat, covered or uncovered, on a bed of aromatic vegetables or unadorned.  The weirdest roasted chicken technique I read was one by the Michelin-starred British modernist chef Heston Blumenthal, who roasts the bird at 200°F/95°C—that’s below boiling!  It all depends on what you’re after, and me, I’m after a bird with a juicy breast, hot and tender thighs (is there any wonder Eros is never far from a roasted chicken?), succulent wings, and crisp, salty, golden-brown skin.  It also fills the home with delicious aromas, which soothes stress and helps us feel relaxed

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Digging Up Ancient Artifacts, Human Remains, Lost Civilizations

Friday, November 07, 2014

For this week’s Please Explain we'll find out about the field of archaeology.
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Digging, Roasting, Living with Less

Friday, November 07, 2014

How scarcity affects our daily lives. Assaf Gavron's novel The Hilltop. Michael Ruhlman tells us how to roast. And this week’s Please Explain is about archaeology.
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Recipe: Michael Ruhlman's Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Friday, November 07, 2014

And how often do you hear your spouse crowing over how delicious the Brussels

sprouts are?

 

It’s the power of roast: high heat and the complex flavors it creates.

 

The method follows the same basic rationale as for broccoli, but the Brussels sprout is a dense vegetable with relatively little surface area. So, while you can roast whole Brussels sprouts with fine results, I like to halve or quarter them—more surface area means more browning, and therefore more flavor. (The downside is that you lose a lot of exterior leaves, so if you’re short on sprouts, roast them whole, giving them about 15 more minutes till they’re tender. And by tender I mean that when you insert a paring knife into one, the sprout offers no resistance.)

 

These are fabulous cooked with bacon fat and bacon, my favorite way to roast them. Or they can be finished with a little olive oil or butter, salt, and pepper, which is how I typically serve them. But if you want to take the dish to another level, dress them with a nutty vinaigrette. In his book Live to Cook, my friend and colleague Michael Symon included a fantastic recipe for deep-fried Brussels sprouts tossed with a walnut vinaigrette. If you want to try this, combine 1 tablespoon minced shallots with 2 tablespoons good red wine vinegar, add a pinch of kosher salt and let it sit for a few minutes, and stir in ¼ cup/60 milliliters walnut or vegetable oil and some toasted chopped walnuts. Even easier, you could simply sprinkle the roasted sprouts with a bit of red wine vinegar just before serving—a pungent vegetable benefits from the acidity.

 

The same rules for broccoli apply here. Apply a uniform coating of oil, which conducts the heat; choose a low-sided pan that won’t discourage circulation, sized so that the sprouts fit in a single snug layer; use high heat, and convection if you have it. And, like broccoli, Brussels sprouts will stay delicious even if you finish them early; simply return them to the oven 5 minutes

before you want to serve them.

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Recipe: Michael Ruhlman's Thanksgiving Turkey

Friday, November 07, 2014

This may be the one dish that more Americans unite in cooking than any other, and every November seems to arrive with a collective panic about roasting the turkey successfully. The newspaper food sections and cooking blogs bombard us with different takes on cooking the turkey—roasting, deep-frying, grilling, steaming—and the battle over whether to stuff the turkey is waged yet again.

Here I am going to stick with the traditional roasting method—the cavity filled with aromatic herbs, vegetables, and lemon; the bird trussed and salted—and we’ll follow the same basic rules for the roasted chicken.

The size of the bird is important. The larger it is, the harder it is to cook properly. That’s what makes the turkey challenging, the fear that the breast will dry out before the legs are cooked through and tender. A 20-pound/9-kilogram bird is really too big to get just right, so if you must cook a bird this big it’s best to use a combination method of roasting and braising. Here I’m restricting the size to 10 to 12 pounds/4.5 to 5.5 kilograms, enough to feed 8 to 10 people.

I grew up in the stuffed-bird tradition and subsequently ate overcooked breast moistened by Grandma Spamer’s gravy. (Her stuffing was worth any number of slices of dry breast.) I prefer not to stuff the bird when I prepare it myself; a stuffed bird takes considerably longer to roast, as there’s no hot air cooking the bird from within but rather a solid mass of starch. Furthermore, that stuffing will end up having spent much time at warm, bacteria-loving temperatures with egg and poultry juices in it and so needs to be made hot before serving. If you intend to stuff your bird, see “The Finer Points” below the recipe for my recommendations.

The same rules apply to a big turkey as to a smaller chicken: You want to prevent too much air from circulating inside the bird. Stuffing it with celery, onion, lemon, and herbs not only accomplishes this, but these ingredients also help perfume the roasted bird and fill the kitchen with delicious aromas.

I truss the bird for appearance and to further protect the interior.

The most important step in the roasting method I recommend is removing the legs and returning them to the hot oven while the big, fat breast rests. The legs really do benefit from extended cooking, and they’re difficult to overcook. Removing the legs and cooking them separately will, of course, ruin your opportunity for a carving-the-bird-at-the-table presentation a la Norman Rockwell. I don’t like that method of serving anyhow, because the meat gets cold before half the table is served. But presentation is important, so I recommend roasting the whole bird until the breast is done, presenting it to your guests for their appreciation, and then returning to the kitchen, removing the legs, and putting them back in the oven to finish.

In terms of serving the turkey, you want to make sure it’s hot. Hot is key.

Moist is also key. Therefore, I serve it in hot moisture. Indeed, I slightly undercook the breast so that it finishes cooking in hot stock. It’s a foolproof way to ensure that you are relaxed and composed, and your family and friends can all dig in to hot, juicy turkey. This preparation can even be done up to 4 hours before you want to serve it (keep the legs and thighs in the oven at 200˚F/95˚C), as everything can be reheated in the hot stock at the end.

 

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Assaf Gavron's new Novel Takes on Charged Geo-Political Issues with Satire

Friday, November 07, 2014

One of Israel’s most acclaimed young novelists tells us about his novel The Hilltop, which is both a serious and satirical look at the complex, often absurd reality of life in Israel.
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Guest Picks: Sara Schaefer

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Sara Schaefer was on the show today, November 6, 2014, to talk about her new WNYC podcast LIES. She's a fan of Taylor Swift and John Green. Find out what else she's a fan of!

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Marc Maron Probes the Inner Lives of Comedians

Thursday, November 06, 2014

The popular podcast host tells us about his roots in stand-up comedy, his ventures into radio and television, and how he approaches his interviews with comedians.
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Palm Oil Found in Many Foods and Cosmetics Is Destroying Forests and Animals

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Palm oil is in a staggering array of food and personal care products, and conventional palm oil production drives deforestation and threatens endangered species.
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Separating the Truth from the Lies: Marc Maron, Sara Schaefer, Suzan-Lori Parks

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Marc Maron. Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks. Billy Hayes on “Riding the Midnight Express.” “Lies with Sara Schaefer.” And a look at how palm oil contributes to deforestation.
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Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks on 'Father Comes Home From The Wars,' a Civil War Drama

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winner Suzan-Lori Parks and actors Sterling Brown and Jeremie Harris discuss the Public Theater production set over the course of the Civil War.
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'Riding the Midnight Express' Tells the Tale of Escaping a Turkish Prison

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Billy Hayes' new one-man show at the Barrow Street Theatre is about his experience as a prisoner in Turkey and how he managed to escape to freedom in a rowboat.
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Comedian Sara Schaefer Tells the Truth about 'Lies'

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Through every weird job, Schaefer was constantly performing comedy. Now she has two Emmy Awards and her own podcast, LIES. Stream a very special live episode of her show tonight at 9.
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Young Filmmakers Make Movies About Their Struggles

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Documentary filmmaker Jon Alpert and two young filmmakers talk about the documentary series "Our Cameras, Our Stories."
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Sorry for Your Loss: Life Advice and Politics

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

How to handle uncomfortable subjects of illness and death. The documentary series “Our Cameras, Our Stories.” Siri Hustvedt on The Blazing World. Ari Berman on yesterday's elections.
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Addressing Sexism in NY's Art World in the Novel The Blazing World

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Siri Hustvedt talks about her new novel, The Blazing World, which has been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. It tells the provocative story of artist Harriet Burden, who, after years of having her work ignored, recruits three young men to present her work as their own, setting off a scandal in the art world.

The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt

 

 

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The Mid-Term Elections and Voting Rights

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Nation contributing writer Ari Berman sorts through the results of the midterm elections. He also looks at the Supreme Court decision undermining the Voting Rights Act affected voting.
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Philip Galanes on the Best and Worst Ways to Console Someone

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Philip Galanes, New York Times Social Q’s columnist gives advice on what to say—and do—for people dealing with illness or death in their families.
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Holding a Polluter Accountable for a Brain Cancer Cluster in South Florida

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Reporter Sharon Lerner looks at a brain tumor cluster in a small Florida town, and investigates its connection to radioactive waste from a large defense contractor.
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How to Protect a Planet in Peril

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Frances Beinecke talks about her tenure as head of Natural Resources Defense Council, at the front lines of the modern environmental movement.
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