I’m an avid and over-the-top fan for Top Chef on Bravo, and I have enjoyed all seasons of these admiral and hard-working chefs. Last summer, I went to the Gilroy Garlic Festival and ran into Top Chef Fabio Vivani. This past summer, I was lucky enough to meet two Top Chef contestants, CJ Jacobsen and Richard Blais, during Bravo’s Top Chef tour. I’ve sampled some tasty eats at CJ’s restaurant, The Yard, in Santa Monica. I randomly bumped into Top Chef contestant, Brian Malarkey, on the corner of 5th and Market in the Gas Lamp District without realizing it was him until I walked away. I realized I was standing in front of his new restaurant that was opening up, Searsucker. I have dreams of dining at Michael or Bryan Voltaggio’s restaurants and possibly more Top Chef dining excursions in the future. I’m a little foodie fan for these guys right? Nope, I’m just a chef-wannabe.
With the recent announcement of Top Chef All-Stars debuting in December, it brought back great memories of recent contestants that I have loved. I had pulled out my good ole’ Top Chef cookbook and there are a couple dishes that I want to make. I definitely have my favorites chef-testants and recipes that I never got around to making. It was nice to see Elia come back from season 2 of Top Chef. I remembered her dish of Roasted Chicken that had soared well with the judges and with the fall weather slowly coming upon us – this was a great excuse to use my new oven. Also, we had invited our dear friends, Dario and Nora, over for dinner to celebrate the wonderful news of parenthood – baby peanut is due February 20, 2011. Congrats you two!
Roasted Chicken with Vegetables
Adapted from Top Chef Cookbook (Season 2 – Chef Elia – Elimination Challenge: Create a seven-course meal inspired by the seven deadly sins)
one 7 pound organic roasting chicken, rinsed and patted dry 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted Salt & freshly ground black pepper 3 medium carrots, coarsely cut 2 zucchini, thickly sliced 1 pound red potatoes, halved ½ cup low-sodium chicken stock
½ cup dry white wine
4 fresh rosemary sprigs, plus more for garnish 8 fresh thyme sprigs, plus more for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat the chicken with the room temperature butter, make sure to add some under the skin. Season generously with salt and pepper. Truss the chicken legs and wings. In a large bowl, combine the carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, and potatoes. Add the melted butter and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the chicken in a roasting pan and scatter the vegetables around the chicken. Pour in the stock and top with the herb sprigs. Roast the chicken for 1 ½ to 2 hours, turning the vegetables a few times to evenly brown. Cook until the chicken is golden brown or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 180 degrees. Remove the chicken from the roasting pan and cut into serving pieces. Place on a large serving platter and using a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables from the pan and place them alongside the chicken. Garnish with additional fresh thyme and rosemary sprigs. Serve immediately.
Review: This was a great fall meal despite the hot weather that SoCal is experiencing. My kitchen smelled like Thanksgiving morning, and was a great reminder why I love the fall season. The chicken was perfectly roasted, very tender and juicy and the simple flavorings of thyme and rosemary went well with my roasted tomatoes and macaroni and cheese. As a tribute to the upcoming Top Chef All-Stars, here’s a reason why you should root for Elia.