Mm mm mm, other than soup, what I really crave during these chilly New England winter months is a warm, roasty, BROWN meal. As unappetizing as the photos may look, this miso butter makes all the difference when roasting chicken. Not only does it act as a delicious glue for those big ground pepper pieces, the addition of roasted garlic and miso gives you that oh-so-desirable umami flavor.
It couldn't be easier to make, really, and requires a few, simple ingredients, a roasting pan, chicken, and a desire to drink wine on the couch while it's sizzling away in the oven.
For the Miso Butter (slightly adapted from Jen Yu's over at Use Real Butter. Go visit her page, her pictures are much better):
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp miso paste (I used white miso)
- dash of salt
- 1/2 roasted bulb garlic
To roast the garlic, cut the very top of the bulb off with a sharp knife. Place the bulb in a small ramekin or foil pouch and drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over the top. Cover with foil and bake at 400°F for 30 minutes or more until the flesh is soft, golden, and nutty in flavor. Remove the cloves from the skin. Discard the garlic skins.
Preheat oven to 400°F for chicken parts or 425°F for a whole chicken, with rack set in the middle. If using a whole chicken, remove the neck and giblets from the cavity. Discard or reserve for a later use.
Beat the butter in a mixing bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or you can do this by hand) until the butter is light and fluffy. Add the miso paste and beat until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Put the roasted garlic cloves in the butter and beat until incorporated (you want the cloves to get mashed up).
Place your fingers under the chicken skin to separate the skin from the flesh without tearing it off. The goal is to create a pocket for the miso butter. Using a knife or a spatula or your hands (hands are easiest, but also messiest) spread an even layer of miso butter under the skin. Do this for as much of the chicken as possible. If using chicken quarters, thighs, and/or drumsticks, repeat for all pieces of chicken. When that is done, spread butter all over the outside of the chicken skin in a generous layer.
Arrange the chicken quarters, thighs and/or drumsticks on a rimmed baking sheet. I lined mine with foil for easier cleanup, but do what suits your fancy. If roasting a whole chicken, arrange on a roasting rack, breast-side up, over a roasting pan, and truss the bird. Sprinkle salt and freshly ground pepper over the chicken. Roast the parts for about 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the meat registers 165-170°F. Roast the whole bird for 40 minutes or until the breast is nicely browned. Then flip the bird (ha ha!) over and roast until a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165-170°F (this takes about 20 minutes more).
Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with scallions, chives, or parsley. Serve up and enjoy with a good red wine.