This is the first year I've abandoned the traditional English turkey. Don't tell the in-laws, but turkey comes last on my list of roasted meats, so I was happy to see it behind us after Thanksgiving.
The first roast is the uber-famous Zuni Cafe Roast Chicken with Bread Salad. I'm not the first person to blog about this dish and I certainly won't be the last. I've professed my love for it after visiting Zuni Cafe in November. I was immediately taken under Judy Roger's spell, as all good food lovers who have pre-ordered her chicken should be.
The chicken is salted at least 24 hours in advance and you need to pat it dry during several occasions after it's sat in the refrigerator. It's a delicious roast chicken, but the bread salad is something very remarkable. The currants, scallions, toasted pine nuts and crispy bread are all bathed in a sharp vinaigrette and married together by sitting in your oven while your chicken rests. If you haven't been to Zuni, get there. If you want a new way to roast chicken, try this. Immediately.
The recipe on the link above is just as it is in her cookbook. I didn't adapt it at all. Some things should not be messed with.
The second triumph was my sister's (okay, Martha's) Christmas Roast Pork with Crackling. After abandoning the traditional roast beef, we settled on pork, but it needed to be BIG. She proceeded to order the pork leg from her local butcher and she and my Dad wrestled with this huge beast to ordain it with three heads of garlic. If you need pork to feed a crowd, this should be your choice. You certainly need some muscles to man handle this in and out of the oven. You've been warned.
You can see that the crackling turned a perfect golden brown and we crunched it greedily. The pork was juicy and spiked with the garlic pearls, thanks to my Dad's hard work. When paired with my black truffle dauphinoise and some simple green beans, the Christmas feast was memorable.
So here I am, staring 2011 in the face and a meatless weekend ahead. It's been worth it.
Happy New Year from Hunger Habit. Peace!