Wine Advisor FoodLetter In This Issue

Our unexpected "vacation"
About Chicken
This week's recipe: Quick butterflied chicken
Let us hear from you!
Emeril's Missing Ingredient Sweepstake

The 30 Second Wine Advisor's FoodLetter: Our unexpected "vacation"

Those of you who tried to visit since Wednesday afternoon may have noticed that we were offline for most of the past couple of days. It was one of those bad-computer days on the WineLovers ranch, and I apologize for the downtime. As it turned out, we had to replace our Web server's operating system completely.

Thankfully, we routinely back up the entire site on tape, so we were able to restore just about all articles and files, including the full Wine Advisor archives.

Unfortunately, however, some material received between Wednesday morning and about midday today was lost. Specifically, if any of you tried to subscribe or enter an administrative change during that period - such as change of E-mail address or subscription frequency - or if you sent a comment or question using our Ask A Question feature, those requests were lost. If you don't get an answer to your question, or if it appears that your administrative change requests didn't go through, please try again.

We're glad to be back!

About Chicken

Think about almost any basic protein source, from beef to pork to salmon or even dried beans, and the chances are that a particular ethnic-food association will spring to mind.

But if there's one food staple that spans the globe, turning up as a popular entree in virtually every culture on Earth, it's the lowly chicken. From the Near East to the Far East and throughout North and South America, the length of Africa and the breadth of Europe and just about any other place you might mention, there's a chicken in every pot - whether the pot is a clay tandoori or a wok or a pricey All-Clad or Calphalon.

Old-timers regret the near disappearance from the marketplace of stewing hens, and something about the bland assembly-line chickens produced by agribusiness for supermarket sales may bother both animal lovers and people who simply prefer quality in what they eat. If you're concerned about these issues from either perspective (or both), you might consider free-to-roam chickens, an alternative that I've found worth pursuing despite a premium price. (There are apparently subtle differences among the handling of "stress-free," "free-range" and "free-to-roam" chickens, related to such subtleties as whether the birds actually go outdoors or are kept in large pens.)

Whatever the source, though, there's a lot to be said for chicken, a wine-friendly item that's relatively healthful (especially if you can resist that delicious crisp but fatty skin), responds well to every imaginary culinary approach from roasting to frying to poaching (just don't try it as sushi). Better still, chicken makes a friendly companion to a broad range of wines, and - depending to some extent on how you prepare and sauce it - is one of the few main-dish items that will go equally well with red wine or white.

WEB LINKS: Here are a couple of chicken-related Websites:

For the official, unfailingly positive word from the chicken-industry trade association, the National Chicken Council and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association's Website is

This is not a commercial message, just a note that the free-to-roam brand most often available in our local health-food stores is Bell & Evans, with information about its "stress-free" chickens at, a repository for thousands of recipes posted on Usenet newsgroups, has chicken recipes at (Note that these recipes are generously shared by people of all levels of cooking skill around the world; it's a great resource, but please note that the input isn't moderated or tested, and results can't be guaranteed.)

This week's recipe: Quick butterflied chicken

This one's a personal favorite, a chicken preparation so simple that it hardly justifies being called a recipe. Cutting out the backbone and flattening the bird makes it cook faster and more evenly, and it's an attractive presentation.


1 small to medium chicken, 2 to 4 pounds
Oil or butter
Rosemary or other fresh herb of your liking
Salt and pepper


1. Preheat oven to 450F (225C) or preheat charcoal or gas grill

2. Rinse the chicken and remove liver and other items that may have been stuffed into its cavity. Carefully using a sharp chef's knife or sturdy kitchen shears, cut out the bird's backbone (which may be reserved and used to make stock). Gently flatten the bird and put it in a shallow roasting pan, breast side up.

3. At this point, many flavoring options are available. I like to smash a few cloves of garlic and slide them under the breast skin with a few sprigs of fresh rosemary (or other fresh herbs). You may rub the bird all over with a bit of oil or butter to encourage browning, and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Or paprika. Or cumin. Or rub it with soy sauce and sprinkle with Chinese "five spice." Or just about any other flavors you like.

4. Put the bird in the oven in its roasting pan and cook for about 45 minutes. I like to roast it at high heat throughout, but you can also reduce the heat to 350F (175C) after a few minutes, then let it go a little longer, perhaps up to an hour at lower heat. If you choose the grill option, I like to sear the bird on both sides over direct heat, then move it to indirect heat, away from direct exposure to the coals, for about 45 minutes, depending on the heat of your grill. The old simple test for doneness still works for me: Wiggle a leg (the chicken's, not yours!), and if it moves easily, the dish is done.

MATCHING WINE: This simple chicken is friendly to many wines. I like a relatively full-bodied white like Chardonnay or Pinot Blanc, or a mediumweight red like a Pinot Noir or Chianti, but avoid bigger reds, which may overwhelm the bird. When I use rosemary in this dish, I find its woodsy aromatic quality makes it a natural match with Cabernet Sauvignon.

Let us hear from you!

This is the fourth week of publication for The 30 Second Wine Advisor's FoodLetter. If you have suggestions or comments about the direction we're headed ... or if you would like to suggest a topic for a coming edition and recipe ... please drop me a note. The Ask A Question form at is the easiest way to reach me, and I encourage you to take advantage of it.

Emeril Sweepstake On WineLoversPage.Com! has joined with to bring the fun of celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse and his cooking to wine lovers on the World Wide Web!

"Emeril's Missing Ingredient Sweepstake" will present a new recipe each week for a good wine-pairing dish from Lagasse's latest book, "Prime Time Emeril" ... with one essential ingredient missing. Your challenge is to study the recipe (or, if you prefer, search for the complete original on and figure out what key ingredient has been left out.

Each Friday throughout the four-week contest we'll choose a winner from those who correctly identify the missing ingredient. Winners will get a free, autographed copy of Lagasse's latest book, "Prime Time Emeril," and a Grand Prize winner will win an entire Emeril Cookbook collection.

We'll also award a few bonus prizes - Emeril's spices and sauces - to the comments we judge most creative and imaginative among those who fill in the optional block inviting you to tell us why you chose a specific missing ingredient.

For this, the fourth and final week, the "Missing Ingredient" recipe is CHERRY AND WHITE CHOCOLATE BREAD PUDDING. For details, the recipe and entry form, see


This is The 30 Second Wine Advisor's weekly FoodLetter. To subscribe or unsubscribe, change your E-mail address, switch from daily to weekly (Mondays only) distribution, or for any other administrative matters, click to In all administrative communications, please be sure to include the exact E-mail address that you used when you subscribed, so we can find your record.

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Thursday, Feb. 14, 2002
Copyright 2002 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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