A Wicked Scoff...Recipes and Food with Newfoundland and New England Influences.

This blog is dedicated to bring recipes, photographs, anecdotes, reviews and other insights on everything food related. As the name suggests, "A Wicked Scoff" will have a regional flare, a fusion if you will, of both Newfoundland and New England perspectives of the culinary world around me. Thanks for visiting and please come back often as updates will be frequent. Oh yeah, I also like tasting and cooking with regional beers. Expect a beer of the month, often paired with recipes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Herb Roasted Chicken and Gourmet Poutine

I was in Maine a couple of weekends ago, and on the drive home we had to pass by the city of Portland. If you're a follower of this blog, you may remember that I spoke of Portland and one of it's best eateries in one of my first posts. The restaurant I am referring to is Duck Fat, where one of the finest poutines in the world can be had. Excellent french fries, great cheese curds and a rich flavorful gravy and you have a recipe for poutine success. A simple dish that requires nothing more than a few really good ingredients to make it one of my favorite comfort foods. It may not sound good to some, and it surely is not healthy, but let me tell you it tastes heavenly! Salty, cheesy, french fried goodness with gravy all over it...now honestly, how is that not good!

Anyways, to cut to the chase, I did not make a return visit to Duck Fat the other week as I had originally hoped. My wife's desire to have a Moe's sub won out. Nevertheless, I was able to get a gourmet poutine...I just had to whip it up myself. My homemade poutine consisted of herb roasted chicken breast, steamed broccoli (that makes it healthy) and salt and pepper oven fries with herb and garlic cheese curds, and a savory chicken gravy. Here's how I made it. Instruction based on a dinner for two.

Herb Roasted Chicken

While I usually like to brine or marinate my chicken, there is not always time, as was the case when I made this dish on a work night. The key for juicy, crispy and tasty chicken will be to cook it on a high heat, season it well, and do not over cook the meat. For white meat chicken breast, I use an instant read thermometer and remove the chicken from the oven the second it reaches 160 degrees in the thickest part of the breast.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and add two large bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts to an appropriately sized roaster or Pyrex tray (or similar). Drizzle a little olive oil and using your hands, coat the chicken with the oil. Season all sides with kosher salt, fresh pepper, dry summer savory and fresh rosemary and/or thyme. Add a splash of water or chicken stock to the bottom of the pan. Cook in the oven, uncovered until internal temperature of 160 is reached...about 45 minutes. If the skin is over browning, cover with foil wrap, or conversely if it isn't crispy enough, use the broiler for a bit.

Chicken Gravy

Remove the chicken from the roasting pan so it can rest. Heat the pan on the stove top over a medium-high heat and add:
- 2 Tbsp of dry white wine, and begin "deglazing" the pan using a wooden spoon to scrape free all the browned bits. Those bits mean flavor.
- Add 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock/broth (canned is fine) and bring to a boil.

Now is the time to thicken the gravy. I use a small Mason jar as a shaker to make a slurry, which I make by combining a couple of heaping tablespoons of flour, a teaspoon of corn starch and about a 1/4 cup of water. Screw on the lid and give it a good shake until you have a think, smooth lump-free slurry. You may need to add a little more water if it is too thick. A pancake batter consistency or slightly looser would be fine. Once the gravy is boiling, slowly drizzle the slurry and combine vigorously with a whisk. You may not need all the slurry so keep adding until you reach the desired consistency. Reduce the heat and simmer the gravy for at least 2-3 minutes in order to cook off the raw flour taste. The gravy will continue to thicken slightly so keep this in mind. Taste the gravy and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.

For the oven fries, the recipe I always use is posted in an earlier posting. For this dish I used 4 medium potatoes and seasoned the fries with kosher salt, black pepper, and a little dried summer savory. With regards to the cheese for the poutine, it's very important to use real cheese curds, not grated cheddar or mozzarella if you want to have the real poutine experience. I'm fortunate that my local grocery store carries fresh cheese curds from a local producer. Better yet, they have some flavored varieties. For this meal, I used their garlic and herb curds, which paired very nicely with the chicken. They were quite garlicky, which is a good thing as long as your significant other is also eating them.

The steamed broccoli is super easy, and one of my favorite ways to eat a bunch of veg. I use fresh broccoli, wash it, cut it into smaller pieces, put a steamer basket in a large sauce pan, add an inch or two of water, bring to a boil, add the broccoli and cook for about 6-7 minutes. It doesn't get much easier than that. I like mine just with a little salt, but I don't mind a little pad of butter either.

Now you're ready to assemble your poutine. Using warmed plates (lay them in the oven for a couple of minutes before the gravy is ready. There will be enough heat left from when the chicken was cooking to warm them nicely), plate the chicken, and the broccoli, and next the fries. Scatter the cheese curds over the fries and begin spooning the hot gravy over the cheese and fries.

It does not get much better than this!


  1. All for you Tim. Try it and let me know how it turns out!

  2. This is something I will definitely try. Looks amazing and love the Nl tartan!
    The CBHK.


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