Recipe from Aaron Allen, Chef du Cuisine at Autumn, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort
One of the most popular dishes at Autumn is our Roasted Chicken. We’re very proud of this dish as we’re showcasing ingredients from a local partner, Footprints Farm. They raise beautiful chickens and grow some incredible produce, so our dish features local products within a French Moroccan flavor profile.
- We butcher the birds in house and leave the drumette on. This cut is referred to as “Frenched” or “airline breast.” We brine the birds in a mixture of salt, sugar, onions, garlic, herbs, and citrus for 12 hours. Then we make a compound butter stuffing from tempered butter, bread crumbs, raw garlic, raw shallots, caramelized shallots, Dijon mustard, roasted garlic puree, salt, thyme, and parsley. We cool this until solid, then we stuff it under the skin of the breasts and reserve until service.
- When we fire the chicken to order, we simply season the outer skin with a little salt and pepper and roast in a convection oven at 400 degrees until cooked through and golden brown (15-18 minutes for individual breast. Cook to an internal temperature of 165 degrees). The sugar in the brine allows a perfect golden crispy skin to develop without pan searing. As the butter melts, the breadcrumbs hold all of the flavor and it effectively bastes the chicken as it cooks. The stuffing puffs up and is quite delicious by itself.
- We pair the chicken with an Israeli couscous, which is a small pearl pasta made from wheat flour. We par cook this prior to service and, on order, we brown a slightly spicy Italian sausage in the pan, then add couscous, roasted garlic puree, and Dijon mustard. This all marries into a delicious and savory starch for the dish.
The sauce for the dish is a classic sherry reduction made from aromatics, sherry and a mixture of poultry and veal stock.
Just before serving, we finish the dish with some beautiful oven-roasted cherry tomatoes, a couple slivers of an incredibly sweet medjool date, and some roasted grilled spring onions from Footprints Farm.
With a little preparation and effort, you can make a similar dish at home. It’s probably a few more steps — and ingredients — than your average dinner, but that’s because this isn’t your average dinner. It’s one that’s absolutely guaranteed to impress your guests. This meal will serve 8-10 people, so be sure to invite a crowd.
Brine for Chicken
1 gallon water 1 gallon ice 1 cup salt ¾ cup sugar 1 medium onion, rough chopped 4 bay leaves 1 tablespoon black peppercorns 2 lemons, zested and juiced 5 cloves garlic 1 bunch thyme
1. Bring all ingredients except ice to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.
2. Strain liquid through a fine mesh strainer or china cap into a large container with the gallon of ice. The ice cools it immediately, so you can use the brine without waiting.
3. Submerge your chickens for up to 24 hours.
Compound Butter for Chicken
1 pound butter, softened 2 tablespoons roasted garlic, pureed 2 tablespoons julienned shallot, caramelized 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 2 tablespoons garlic salt or paste 2 tablespoons shallot, brunoised (finely diced) ½ cup panko bread crumbs 1 cup thyme, minced 1 cup parsley, minced Salt and pepper to taste
1. Combine all ingredients with a large electric mixer using the paddle attachment.
1 cup shallots, roughly chopped 1 cup garlic, roughly chopped 1 large bunch thyme 3 tablespoons peppercorns 10 bay leaves, crushed 2 quarts (2 bottles) sherry, reduced by half 2 cups Dijon mustard 4 quarts poultry stock 3 quarts veal stock
1. Sweat shallots, garlic, and thyme in a little salad oil until translucent and tender.
2. Add peppercorns, bay leaves, and sherry.
3. Reduce sherry by half, then add poultry and demi at the same time.
4. Reduce to desired consistency.