How often do you roast a chicken? If the answer isn’t at least once a week, it’s time to change that.
Roasting a chicken is not just about getting one delicious meal. It’s the key to having so many tools that make the rest of your meals for the week delicious.
When I roast a chicken, we usually eat the dark meat and a little bit of the white. Then my real work begins.
First, I shred whatever meat is left and put it in a container, to be used later for chicken salad or just as a snack. Next, I take all of the scraped bones, add a halved onion, and cover it all with water in a big stock pot. I let it simmer for about 30 minutes, and I’ve got homemade stock for soups or just for sipping in the afternoon.
And finally, I take my roasting pan, which has been sitting out and cooling, and I scrape up all of the fat and juice that are stuck to the bottom. This, my friend, is semi-liquid gold: a combination of schmaltz or chicken fat and chicken juices, the kinds that are the base for gravies and sauces. I keep this preciously and use it when I need a cooking fat with a bit of extra flavor: for a special scramble in the morning, to sauté plain chicken breasts for added long-roasting aroma, and for this tasty (and easy!) gratin.
Balsamic-Mustard Sliced Turkey Breast and Potato Gratin
Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 1 hour
- 5 small potatoes (or about 2 cups, sliced)
- 4 tablespoons of roast chicken drippings (or, in a pinch, 2 tablespoons duck/goose fat and 2 tablespoons chicken stock)
- Salt and pepper
- Granulated garlic
- 2 turkey breast fillets
- 2 tablespoons of mustard
- 2 tablespoons ofbalsamic vinegar
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, then start by preparing the dishes for the potatoes. I used small, individual baking dishes with lids, but you can make the gratin in a larger 8-inch square baking dish. Trace the outline of whatever dish you are doing on a sheet of parchment paper, and cut out a piece that will fit in the bottom.
2. Wet your fingers with a dab of water so that the paper sticks to the bottom of the dish. Set aside.
3. Prepare the potatoes. Slice them thinly (you can peel them or not — up to you. I don’t because it makes my life easier.) Work quickly, so that the potatoes do not oxidize. If you’re not too confident in your knife skills, set the potato slices in a bowl of water as you prepare them to keep them from turning brown.
4. When all of the potatoes are sliced, layer them in the dishes, interspersing the layers with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic to taste. Be sure to fill the dishes overfull — the potatoes will shrink as they cook.
5. Melt the schmaltz in the microwave until just barely liquid, and pour it over the potatoes, dividing it amongst the dishes equally if you are using more than one. Cover the dishes with either their individual lids or aluminum foil, and bake for 40 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, in an 8×8 Pyrex, combine the mustard and the vinegar.
7. Add the turkey and cover with the marinade. Allow to marinade for 40 minutes, while the potatoes cook.
8. After 40 minutes of baking, remove the lids or the foil from the potatoes, and add the turkey. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, until the turkey is cooked through and the potatoes are crisp on top.
9. Remove the potatoes from the oven, and allow them to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Keep the turkey warm and allow the juices to settle and redistribute.
10. You can serve the potatoes straight out of the dishes (if this is your plan, you don’t necessarily need to use the parchment paper at the bottom). However, I prefer to turn them out, as this way, the juices can mix with the turkey. To do this, loosen the edges of the gratin with a knife, place a plate over the gratin, and flip it over quickly but carefully. Leave the dish for about 30 seconds, then gently lift it straight up.
11. You can serve the turkey whole, but the vision of juicy, sliced turkey is enough to make anyone’s mouth water.