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Season 17, Episode 26 Recap: How to Make the Best Roast Chicken and Root Vegetables

Plus, Dan makes a delicious, almost no-knead sourdough.

Published July 3, 2017.

This episode of America’s Test Kitchen (the last of the season!) opens with Julia Collin Davison and Bridget Lancaster discussing the best way to make roast chicken and root vegetables. Later, Dan Souza makes sourdough bread that needs (almost) no kneading.

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"Comfort Classics"

On this episode of ATK TV, Bridget and Julia make roast chicken and root vegetables, and Dan makes a gorgeous loaf of almost no-knead sourdough bread.  
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Five Takeaways from the Episode

1. For the Best Roasted Chicken and Vegetables, Roast them Separately: Roasting the chicken and vegetables separately allows each component to cook at its own pace. Fat renders from the chicken without making the vegetables soggy; the vegetables are able to caramelize. Plus, you’re going to reserve all that delicious schmaltz for pouring over the vegetables at the very end, anyway. This way, instead of soggy, schmaltzy vegetables you get caramelized, schmaltzy vegetables. Cooking the chicken and vegetables separately is clearly the way to go.  

2. Add Some Sugar to Your Brine: Sugar adds a pleasant bit of sweetness, but it also helps the chicken’s skin get nice and golden-brown as it cooks. There’s precious few things more beautiful (and tasty) than crispy, golden-brown chicken skin.

3. Sourdough Is the Oldest Kind of Leavened Bread: One of the coolest things about sourdough is that no two loaves will ever taste exactly the same. That’s because every sourdough starter is different and exposed to different bacteria depending on the air it feeds on. Different bacteria equals nuances in taste.

4. Use a Combination of All-Purpose and Whole-Wheat Flour in Your Sourdough: Whole-wheat flour provides more nutrition for the yeast and the bacteria that live inside the starter, so the dough is able to come to life a bit faster. Whole wheat also leads to more robust growth and better flavor.

5. How To Know When Your Sourdough Starter Is Ready: There’s one no-fail indication that your sourdough starter is ready to turn into bread: it will be doubled in volume. Now, this can take a while—you’ve got to feed your starter every 24 hours for 10 to 14 days. At some point in that time period, the dough will become lively and double in size. That’s when you know you’re ready to cook with it.

Quote of the Week: “Much like the key to a successful marriage is separate bathrooms, the key to a successful roast chicken and root veg is roasting them separately.” —Julia Collin-Davison on roast chicken and vegetables

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