Rumor has it that us homosexuals are gifted with certain abilities: An innate sense of design, the ability to know the hottest parties in town, a gift for knowing exactly the right relationship advice to give at the right time. Of course, this is total B.S. There are plenty of gays out there who don’t know the difference between Prada or Miu Miu, would rather watch Battlestar Galactica on a Friday night than go out and are totally out of touch with their inner-Oprah. Still, we have a rep to maintain and to help you out Queerty introduces Mad Gay Skillz– your go-to guide for staying fabulous.
In future installments, we’ll help you build a wardrobe, plan the perfect getaway and find the perfect wine to pair with that cheese, but to get things rolling, let’s head to the kitchen.
They say the way to a man’s heart is his stomach, but for many of us, the kitchen is little more than a place to reheat meals and blend smoothies. You don’t need to be a Top Chef to impress, however. All you need is the ability to make one dish well and after years of practice and experimentation, we have a surefire hit– something easy to make, healthy and impressive– a roasted chicken.
Chicken gets a bad rap. We see it so often, as skinless breasts on salads or as fried nuggets from the fast food counter, that we take it for granted. Done properly, a roast chicken is worthy of a feast– and delightfully simple.
Find a chicken– no, not that kind…
First, you’ll need your chicken. You want to get a whole bird, not just because it looks cool, but because the bones will help flavor the bird. A fryer works well for two people. If you’re serving more, resist the temptation to buy a bigger bird. The larger the bird is, the longer it takes to cook. Instead, you can buy multiple birds, assuming you have enough space in the oven.
The wonderful thing about roasted chicken is that it almost doesn’t require a recipe. At the store, you’ll want to pick up some garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, an onion and some herbs. I recommend rosemary. It’s sweet and pungent and adds a lot of flavor. If you really want to be showy, pick up an orange. You can use the zest as a seasoning. Also, to make your bird a meal, pick up some roasting vegetables. Yams, potatoes or carrots make good choices. Finally, pick up a bottle of cheap white wine. Dry wines like pinot gris or sauvignon blanc are best, but a chardonnay can do in a pinch.
Dress your chicken in love (and pepper)
Once home, you’ll want to take the bird out and rinse it off. Scoop into the bird’s cavity and pull out the bag of giblets. These are the organs of the bird and if you’re squeamish, you can just throw them out, however, the adventurous will want to reserve them to the side. Once rinsed, pat the bird dry with paper towels. This is probably the most important step in the whole process. If the bird is wet, all your seasoning will slide right off and the skin won’t crisp up.
Once dry, take an onion and slice it in quarters and put it inside the bird, then add your rosemary, or whatever herb you decided to use and stuff it in as well. These are called ‘aromatics’ and they slowly flavor the bird while it cooks.
Make garlic oil.
Next, take a cup of olive oil and put it in a small saucepan. Grab your clove of garlic and peel it apart. A cool trick you can do is to take the clove and smash it with the flat end of knife. This will break away the skin from the clove and save you a lot of time. Once you’ve done this to the whole bulb, chop it up finally and dump it in the olive oil.
Put the olive oil and garlic mixture on a burner set to the lowest heat your oven allows. A whole bulb of garlic might seem like a lot, but as it slowly heats, the garlic abandons its pungent flavor and becomes something sweet and almost caramel-like. Keep the garlic oil mixture on the burner until the garlic turns a pale gold, then set it aside.
Fun with vegetables
In the meantime, set your oven for 450 degrees. Take a roasting pan and lightly cover the bottom of it with a film of the garlic oil. Now, add the vegetables you want to roast and put it in the oven to bake.
Grease your chicken.
While the vegetables start cooking, season the bird with salt and paper on both sides. Now, strain the garlic from the oil you made. You’re only going to use a little bit of the oil, but you can keep it for future meals. Take the remaining garlic and mash it up till it’s a thick gooey paste. Smear this paste all over the top of the bird, then brush the rest of the bird with the garlic oil. By substituting olive oil for butter, you’ve significantly reduced the fat of the meal, which will make the hot guy who goes to the gym that you’re trying to impress all the happier.
The part where you get your chicken all hot and bothered.
Now, take the roasting pan out of the oven. If you have a roasting rack, place it in the pan. If not, don’t worry: Take two balls of aluminum foil and place them in the pan. They’ll keep the bird from siting directly in the pan, letting the juices flow away.
Now, put the bird in the pan. You can tuck the wings under the flaps of skin they’re connected to, but while traditionalist might want to tie the birds legs together, there’s really no point.
Put the bird in the oven at 450 degrees and let it cook for 25 minutes. If you saved your giblets, throw them in the pan, too. Don’t worry, you won’t eat them. They’re just there for flavor. Then, lower the the temperature to 350 and bake for 45 minutes.
The real secret to a perfectly cooked bird is to get a probe thermometer. They cost five bucks and you should own one. Once the bird reached 170 degrees, it’s done.
The other big secret is to let the bird rest for ten minutes once it’s out of the oven. All those juices will run if you cut the bird immediately, but if you give it a few minutes to cool down, you’ll be guaranteed moist, tender meat.
This part sounds fancy, but it’s easy.
While you’re waiting for the bird to cool, take the roasting pan and put it on top of your oven burners. If you haven’t taken the vegetables out yet, now is the time. What you should have is a mess of juice, dark burned bits and if you decided to keep them, the giblets. Turn on your burners to high and let this mess start sizzling. Don’t be afraid of the char; it’s your friend. Now, take a half cup of your white wine and add it to the pan, while using a spatula to scrape up all the browned bits. After a few moments, the alcohol will have burned of and you’ll be left with an amber golden pan sauce. Congratulations, you’ve just learned how to deglaze!
All that’s left is for you to carve the bird up, put the veggies on the plate and spoon your pan sauce over the whole thing. Bring it to the table, feign that it was a huge ordeal and wait for the praise to come at you. Eh, screw the praise– with candlelight, a bottle of wine and this meal, expect the dessert to be on him.
While this dish doesn’t require a recipe, if you feel more comfortable with one, here’s the original recipe this dish was adapted from. We really recommend omitting the butter, though.