I decided to make some roast chicken tonight, one of my favorite go to meals that's incredibly easy yet very satisfying. I decided to make it a little more interesting than usual though. Usually all I do is sprinkle seasonings outside the bird and baste with butter. That makes for a tasty bird, but this time I filled the cavity with a Meyer lemon, part of an onion, several cloves of garlic and a few fresh thyme sprigs.
I then decided to do even more and made an herb butter using buttermilk ranch dressing seasoning from Penzey's spices. I slid generous amounts of that under the skin of the breast and worked it into the meat, followed by slices of prosciutto. I thought that cutting into chicken breast with a slice of Italian ham baked in would be mighty tasty.
I sprinkled some seasonings all over the chicken and then basted with butter throughout the cooking. When it was finished, I pulled all of the items from the cavity and cooked those with the juices from the bird. I added the chicken neck and browned it nicely to add some more chicken flavor and I also threw in a slice of prosciutto for good measure. I was able to develop some nice crusty bits in the pan and after it had reduced down a bit, I deglazed the pan with a bottle of hard cider. I let that reduce down quite a bit, then strained everything out, added the liquid back into the pan and reduced it a bit more. I added a little bit of cream, and a pinch of sugar to balance the tartness of the lemon and arrived at a very tasty sauce. By that time, the chicken had rested enough to carve, so I sliced off half of the chicken, placed it on a plate and added the sauce.
I poured a glass of wine and enjoyed a very tasty dinner. I think the herbed butter and prosciutto is a winning combination. I'll be making this again.