Please see “Judy Rodgers” post which described how we decided to make her famous recipe, “Roast Chicken with Bread Salad.” Here is a photo postcript (taken by C.) of the dish which we prepared and ate for Christmas Eve Dinner.
December 26, 2013 postscript: As intended, we followed Judy Rodgers’s recipe to the letter: I bought 3 birds: 2 1/2 to 3 pound fresh organic Bell and Evans chickens at Idylwylde Farm (the ONLY place that had them); brined with Maldon Salt along with fresh marjoram, rosemary and thyme sprigs slipped between the skin of the breast and thigh of each bird beforehand; left to rest in refrigerator for 24 hours covered with paper towel and clean dishcloths. Taken out two hours before roasting; my daughters, Megan and Caitlin read the bread salad recipe which said, “begin several hours ahead” in the 2nd floor kitchen. I had bought three different loaves of bread, hoping to find one with the kind of open and chewy crumb “without being sourdough or Levain bread which would have had too strong a flavor.” The last loaf bought the day before, a crusty large Italian bread loaf turned out to be perfect. The crusts were cut off, the bread torn into bits, brushed with olive oil, browned in the oven, dressed with Champagne vinaigrette; the currants soaked in red wine vinegar, mixed with fresh rocket and mesclun after it had been steamed in the hot oven after the birds were taken out; pan drippings added to the bread salad and spooned over servings of light and dark meat servings of the roasted chickens. I am giving this detailed description because every step and ingredient was worth it.
Everyone agreed that the dish was spectacularly delicious and distinctive, festive and just plain wonderful for our Christmas Eve dinner. As with many things, we don’t think the experience will ever be the same the next time we make it, but will certainly be added to our best meals ever memories!
Postscript 5 January 2014: I wanted to add a note that because the chicken had been brined (I think,) the leftovers were still appetizing to eat for lunch today, the very last bits cut up in chunks, a tender sprig of celery or two chopped finely and Hellmann’s mayonnaise to bind it together for about a half hour before putting together sandwiches with toasted oatmeal bread accompanied by split pea soup.
Earlier, we had transported leftover roast chicken for sandwiches on the 27th of December to Brewster on Cape Cod, accompanied by a big pot of hearty soup made of stock from the carcasses, onions, carrots and barley. For frugality, I’m amazed that these three little birds fed and nourished us over the course of, what, eleven days!?