Friday, September 10, 2010

Roasting a Chicken...with a bonus side dish!

We're going simple and tasty today! I love roast chicken and when I talk to friends, they tend to shy away from it because it's "too hard." Granted, it takes some prep time (it was 22 minutes exactly this time), but once it's in the oven, it's virtually fool-proof! Here we go.

To begin, you'll need the following (but pay attention as there are more ingredients listed throughout the step-by-step instructions):

1 whole roasting chicken at room temperature
any assortment of aromatics [veggies, herbs, spices] you'd like
***if choosing these aren't your strong suit, I used the following:
  1. 4 garlic cloves, smashed but still in tact
  2. 2 celery sticks, sliced into small sticks
  3. 1/4 onion, chopped into large chunks
  4. 2 Rosemary sprigs
  5. 2 sage sprigs
  6. **other options could include: carrots, lemon/orange/lime slices, cilantro, parsley, thyme sprigs
First, preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Then, unwrap your chicken --don't throw the wrapping away just yet-- and wash it thoroughly (usually running it under the faucet for a few minutes does a great job). Then, use paper towels to blot the cavity and outer skin completely dry. If time allows, you can even let it sit for a few minutes to air-dry.

Line a deep baking dish with aluminum foil (easy clean-up, my friends!) and place your chicken breast-side-up in the dish. Fill the cavity of the bird with all your aromatics. You can alternate the layers, or just throw 'em all in on top of each other; just be sure to stuff it full!

The next part is a bit messy, but I'm tellin' ya, it's the greatest "poultry secret" I have! Loosen the skin away from the meat without tearing it (as shown below). Incidentally, I do this with turkey at Thanksgiving as well and it's probably the greatest thing in the entire world.
Coat the inner meat using a couple of tablespoons of butter. Then, put a couple of tablespoons of poultry seasoning near the opening and rub under the skin as far as your fingers will allow you to. This is a fabulous way to season the actual meat rather than just the cavity or the skin of the bird. If you're really careful, you can even loosen the skin around the legs and thighs to add some butter and seasoning there as well. Once you've seasoned under the skin, season the outside of the skin in a similar manner. Rub with butter, and sprinkle with seasoning. I used garlic salt and lemon pepper with this particular chicken and it turned out wonderfully. You could easily stick with good ol' salt and pepper though with a tasty result.

Once your oven is at 500 degrees, you're ready to roast! Place your bird on a center baking rack and reduce the oven's temperature to 325 degrees. You need to cook your chicken for 20 minutes per pound. Remember how I told you not to throw the wrapper away just yet? Now you can check the weight of your chicken without going through your trash can. You can also use a meat thermometer if you have one. A chicken's safe internal cooking temperature is 165 degrees. This can take up to two hours depending on the weight of your bird, so plan ahead. Once your chicken is done, allow the bird to "rest" on your stove top for 10 minutes before cutting into it.

Now for a super simple side dish: Stuffin' Muffins. I got the "stuffin' muffin" idea from one of Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Meal episodes and I've used it ever since. However, I'm not always in the mood to make stuffing from scratch, so here is my "easy out!"

To start, chop the 3/4 of the onion you didn't use in your chicken along with 4-6 celery stalks. Place them in a frying pan with a small pat of butter. Allow them to caramelize and soften on medium heat until both are tender, but not mushy.
Then, mix your veggies with a box of StoveTop (or any other prepared stuffing mix) and scoop the stuffing into a greased muffin tin. Bake the "stuffin' muffins" in the oven with your chicken for the last 20-25 minutes. By baking them, you get the yummy crust on the exterior, but the inside is still soft.

Finished products:


6 comments:

  1. That looks so good! I have never roasted a chicken before. I think I am one of those who always thought it would be "too hard". I think this post may have given me the confidence to try it! But I don't know how much a sprig is exactly...

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  2. A "sprig" is basically the small twig the herb itself actually grows on. They're usually between 6-12 inches long. With the longer ones, I just fold them in half and stuff them in.

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