Monday, April 6, 2015

Roast Chicken with Kato Sauvignon Blanc

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

Kato Sauvignon Blanc is one of those special wines that gets into my brain and bounces around, all day long.  Merely thinking about the Kato Sauvignon Blanc makes me salivate.  And when that happens, my thoughts move toward cooking with seasonal ingredients. Of course I’d rather just drink wine, although drinking wine while cooking makes for an easy sipper and a nice way to spend the day.  This is extremely elegant wine that tastes of wet stones, crushed oyster shells, sea salt slicked- wet grasses, smoke and fog and of course the tropical fruits of the Pacific Rim, exotic, salubrious, gregarious and utterly memorable. 

New Zealand wines as a rule are so utterly food friendly that you really cannot make a mistake with them from a culinary perspective.  Their natural acidity, balance of fruit to dryness and lip-smacking salinity makes my stomach’s eye fresh with possibilities.

Moving towards the warmer weather of spring makes me hungry for dishes like Roast Chicken.  A roasted chicken is one of those meals that either comes out perfectly, or serves as a terrible warning to never dine on one in a restaurant, ever again.  When I spend time out as a restaurant reviewer, I never order the most expensive items on the menu, nor do I fall for the specials of the day trap.  I seek food that translates the passion of the chef, and certainly not the ever empty-pocket of the restaurant owner.  Roast chicken is the direction of my spring palate and the brilliantly made, Kato- Sauvignon Blanc-New Zealand wine becomes more than a metaphor for eating seasonally with spark and flavor!

Ah ha!  But what is in season now?  Think spring vegetables to go with a perfectly roasted chicken.  Asparagus, Spring Peas, Garlic, New Potatoes, shallot… all are worthy for my very simple, roast chicken.  I just scatter them around a pre-heated cast iron pan.  Pre-heated? Yes. In a 450 degree oven.  Sure they will sizzle a bit, but that crust will fill your brain with possibilities.  Scatter some fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme; maybe toss some olive oil and orange peels in and amongst the vegetables.  New carrots?  Check.   Leeks?  Spring onions?  Absolutely.  So how do I do that again?

A perfectly lovely roasted chicken
Wash your chicken inside and out and dry as best as possible.  Zest an orange and a lemon and scatter the zests in and out of the bird.  Rub the bird well with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Stuff the carcass with halved lemons and oranges with garlic and shallots with fresh “French” herbs, rosemary, and thyme, sage, lavender.  Scatter some olive oil over the top of the bird with the aromatic herbs, also the new potatoes, vegetables…  Add ¼ cup of Armagnac and ½ cup of the Kato Sauvignon Blanc to the pan and be patient.  Please don’t open the oven door for at least 40 minutes- then without opening the oven, turn the temp down to 300 and roast until you can see clear juices running from the deepest part of the thigh when pricked.  Total cooking time for a 3-pound bird should be about 3 hours door to door. 

Sure you can baste if you like, but the bird will roast up beautifully without basting and it will be juicy and tender when sliced, which leads me to my next suggestion.  After roasting, let the bird rest, tented with aluminum foil out of the oven (or in a 200 degree oven) for at least 20 minutes before slicing.   The bird will be super tender this way.  I love roasting a couple sweet potatoes in with the bird and also smearing the roasted garlic on toast points with plenty of olive oil for dipping.   Drink some of your brilliant New Zealand wine and enjoy your perfectly roasted chicken with fresh herbs.  It will be a trip to an unknown world without a plane ticket!

For a cocktail accompaniment, you can burn some remaining fresh herbs into upturned cocktail glasses and make gin & tonics with French Herb Smoked Ice!

I really dig New Zealand wines and when you serve them with a French influenced roasted chicken, all will be most well.

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

About Warren Bobrow
Author of: Apothecary Cocktails-Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today- Fair Winds Press- Beverly, Massachusetts. Apothecary Cocktails was nominated for a Spirited Award, 2014 Tales of the Cocktail.  His forthcoming book, Whiskey Cocktails will be released October 14.  Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails follow with publication in spring ’15.  Warren is a master mixologist for several craft liquor companies.

Warren consults about mixology and spirits, travel, organic wine and food.  He’s written for web-blogs and magazines like: Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods: Dark Rye, Distiller, Total Food Service Magazine, Beverage Media Group, DrinkUpNY, Edible Publications, Foodista, Serious Eats, Mechanics of Style and Beekman1802.  He was in the Saveur-100 in 2010.

Warren is a former, mostly self, trained cook from the pot sink on up.  J&W and ACF were thrown in for good luck.  Warren was the former owner/co-founder of Olde Charleston Pasta in South Carolina: *Dissolved his business after Hurricane Hugo in 1989* - to a career in private banking, (nearly 20 years; “a very grand mistake”) to this reinvention in 2009 as the Warren he's finally become.

Warren is available to do highly personalized, interactive mixology events, local, national and international.
PS: Warren's second book, Whiskey Cocktails is on the market now!
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