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Old 10-22-2007, 04:39 PM   #1
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Cooking disaster... with a question

Early this weekend I picked up the fall copy of Cooking Fresh, a magazine put out by Fine Cooking. Their feature article was on one of Seattle’s most celebrated chefs sharing his favorite end-of-summer recipes. I was having a dinner party and his roast chicken menu sounded ideal, not only because of its emphasis on seasonal fresh produce, but because the menu is geared for larger parties.

The recipe basically called for slathering two 3-1/2 lb chickens with Dijon, shallots, garlic & thyme, refrigerating several hours, then roasting them side-by side in a 450 degree oven for 25 minutes. I thought that sounded like a pretty short cooking time, especially for two birds straight from the refrigerator. Most other roast chicken recipes I’ve used have called for lower temps and much longer cooking time. But I figured, hey, Fine Cooking magazine and Seattle’s best chef must know what they are talking about. And after all, 450 is a pretty hot oven for chicken. So I proceeded on and just upped the cooking time to 30 minutes.

What a disaster. After pulling the chicken from the oven, I let it rest for 10 minutes before I cut into it. It was completely raw less than ˝-inch below the skin. Luckily, my friends were having a great time, so I put the chicken back in for another 40 minutes at a lower temp. It was fine then. Not fabulous, but edible, and the Dijon crust that formed was praised by all.

This morning I read & re-read the recipe very carefully. It did not call for a microwave oven or a fancy ceramic brick oven, etc. I have two year old standard GE that has always delivered good results in roasting, baking, etc. So I’m really confused and bothered by this recipe and magazine. So here are my questions to all: Where did I go wrong? Also, has anyone ever seen a recipe that just strikes you as wrong, but you proceed anyway? Love to hear your stories.


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Old 10-22-2007, 04:49 PM   #2
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The recipe could be wrong (cooking time)

The recipe could have left out a step or two (such as letting the chickens come to room temperature befoer roasting)

The recipe could have been written for a convection oven.

You could have crowded the chickens too close together for proper heat circulation.

I have a recipe that calls for cooking a roasting chicken @ 500 F. Things get smoky but the chicken comes out great so the temperature isn't the problem.

"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
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Old 10-22-2007, 04:56 PM   #3
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Hi KarlaRose-I have come across many recipes that just aren't right.I can't remember a specific one now but I think that you should always follow your gut feeling.In Greece ,at least, many famous Chefs will give a recipe with something missing or just not exactly correct. I don't know if that happens in the States.I would have baked the chickens in the450 oven for 15-20 minutes so the crust would form and then lower the temperature and cook for at least 40 minutes. You did well!!!
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Old 10-22-2007, 05:09 PM   #4
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Cooking two birds at 450 for only 25 minutes seems awfully short to me! I’ve seen many recipes that start at 450 or 500 for 15 to 20 minutes, then turn the temp down to 350 or 400 and finish cooking the birds that way. It sounds like something is wrong with that recipe.
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Old 10-22-2007, 05:11 PM   #5
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KarlaRose - DO DEFINITELY contact the magazine & tell them what happened. Printed recipe snafus happen all the time, & what you're describing definitely sounds like a snafu. No mere "oven temp" differential would make up for the difference that happened to you.

Be adamant!!! I mean, really, you were counting on them to give you a dinner party recipe that you assumed would be decent. At the very least, they owe you a free year's subscription. Your bad press about the recipe could cost them an awful lot more.
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Old 10-22-2007, 05:47 PM   #6
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Good Advice from all. I'm always suspecious of recipes so I try to compare the first with similiar - you might be surprised how often things are left out, I was. That's the reason I really like this place - alot of people who know. And I like the foodnetwork.com place because of the reviews. They are a good double check but even there some errors get through.
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Old 10-23-2007, 09:09 AM   #7
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2 birds right from the fridge won't cook in that short a time. That should have been obvious to the people at the magazine.

I'm with Andy, I cook chicken at 450 for the full time and it's some of the best roast chicken you'll ever eat. I would be afraid of the dijon in this recipe burning though.

I suspect the part that was left out was turning down the oven and cooking for a longer amount of time.

I bet they get a lot of comment on thie recipe!

Less is not more. More is more and more is fabulous.
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