Dinner And A Movie Monday – Cold Mountain

Cold Mountain is one of my all-time favorites. Wikipedia calls it a sleeper hit, and I can’t help but agree. Everything fits together. The characters, the scenery, the music. In my opinion, Anthony Minghella did a spectacular job on this civil war epic based on the novel by Charles Frazier. 

It’s the story of a wounded Confederate deserter’s struggle to go home to Cold Mountain, North Carolina, to reunite with the with the woman he loves. Although they hardly know each other, the love they have shared throughout the war gives them hope. Keeps them from giving up.

Each character has his own unique story. Together, they give us a brief glimpse of life in the south during civil war years. If you’ve never watched it, please do. If you have seen it, watch it again.  

Roast Chicken

Every time I see the scene where Renee Zellwigger wrings the rooster’s neck, it reminds me of Gone With The Wind. I can’t imagine eating a rooster, but I’m sure it happened a lot during the war. And I’m sure they ended up roasting the tough old bird, hoping to make it more tender.

Ingredients

  • One 3-pound roasting chicken rinsed and patted dry, neck and giblets reserved
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, thyme or savory leaves in any combination
  • 3 garlic cloves: 1 peeled and crushed, 2 lightly smashed
  • 1 large lemon, washed
  • 2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 shallots, peeled, and cut in half lengthwise
  • 3 sprigs thyme

Instructions Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place a small piece of foil just large enough to cover the chicken’s breast in a roasting pan; brush it with a little oil. Set aside. Rinse the bird inside and out with cold water; pat dry with paper toweling. With a thin, sharp knife, cut the excess fat from the neck and hind cavity of the chicken and discard. Sprinkle the chicken evenly inside and out with salt and pepper, rubbing it into the skin. Stuff the herb leaves and the crushed garlic clove into the cavity. Prick the lemon about 25 times each with a toothpick or skewer. Stuff it into the cavity of the chicken. Using toothpicks or trussing needles, pin the neck and hind cavities closed. Place the chicken breast down over the oiled piece of foil in the roasting pan. Nestle the neck, giblets, carrot, shallot, smashed garlic cloves and thyme around the chicken. Roast for 15 minutes. Turn the bird breast up and carefully peel off the foil taking care not to rip the skin; discard. Roast 20 minutes longer, then increase the oven temperature to 400’F. Roast the chicken 20 to25 minutes longer, until the skin is brown and crisp and the juices run clear when the leg is pricked with a kitchen fork. An instant-read thermometer inserted in the breast should read 140′. Remove the toothpick from the hind end. Lift the chicken with two wooden spoons and tilt it slightly so the juices run out of the cavity into pan. Place the chicken on a platter and keep warm. Pour the pan juices into a small measuring cup. Let settle 3 to 4 minutes, then carefully skim the fat off the surface with a tablespoon. Pour the juices back into the roasting pan set over moderate heat. Add the wine and simmer, stirring to dissolve any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes until the alcohol has cooked off. Skim off any fat or scum that rises to the surface. Strain the sauce into a small bowl, discard the neck and giblets and taste for seasoning. You will have about 1/2 cup of flavorful, natural juices. Carve the chicken, dividing it into four equal portions. Pour any juices that have collected on the plate into the sauce. For a lemony sauce, squeeze the lemon into the pan juices. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the pan juices over each portion of chicken.

Enjoy the movie. Try out the chicken. I’ll see you next time!