Monthly Archives: March 2011

The roasted chicken

A while ago, I got a wild idea that I wanted to roast a whole chicken. Long story short, it was delicious, and is now something I do quite frequently. Whole chickens are fairly inexpensive, and if you pay more than about a dollar a pound, you are probably getting a little ripped off.

I will add this disclaimer: roasting a whole chicken has its gross moments and so those who are faint of heart or stomach may not want to attempt  this without a stronger stomached assistant. Also, this post contains photos of raw, whole chickens. Just saying.

I also suggest having an empty dishwasher (or slightly full of dirty dishes) before starting this process. Of course, I never do this, I just realized halfway through that it would be nice if I could put those chickeny dishes straight into the dishwasher. Instead, I put them into the sink, which means I have to touch them again.

First, make sure the chicken is thawed and take out all the extras inside. They may be in a bag or just loose in there. Put those in the bottom of the roasting pan.

The first thing I do is stuff the chicken. I always always ALWAYS stuff the chicken with an onion. First of all, yum. Second of all, it adds a nice moisture. You don’t eat the onions at the end. Well, I guess you could if you really wanted to, but we never have. I also add at least three cloves of crushed fresh garlic. This time, I added a few sprigs of thyme, too.

Flavor ready to go in the chicken.

This chicken is full! Some places suggest tying the legs together. You can if you want, but I can't ever seem to find kitchen string so I don't do it.

Next, you rub the outside of the chicken. This time, I rubbed it with softened butter mixed with thyme, parsley and oregano but you can add any combination of herbs that sounds good to you. Some recipes say you should rub the chicken and then let it flavor through over night. This is a good idea, but the last time I did it I forgot and it still turned out well. Be sure to rub your seasoning all over the chicken and between the skin and breast meat of the chicken. Check out my original recipe (mentioned below) for a really savory, unexpected combination of flavors.

Homemade herb butter

The original recipe I used didn’t call for anything in the bottom of the pan. The one I use when I roast potatoes with it does. This time I added 1.5 cups of chicken stock and a touch of white zinfandel (which someone had left at our place. We don’t really drink sweet wines, so it therefore becomes cooking wine) The little bit of the moisture in the bottom a) helps keep the chicken moist, b) gives you a nice start for some gravy and c) can sometimes keep the bottom of the pan from getting too burnt.

Next, grease your v-rack if you are using one and put the chicken in the V breast side down. I put it breast side down because that’s the way I did it the first time. I know there are other schools of thought. That’s the way I did it the first time. It worked great. That’s the way I do it. I also do not tress the chicken.

When your chicken is all ready to go, it’s time to bake it!

Chicken, ready for the oven

I LOVE this cooking method. It requires you to pay attention, but I generally am working diligently on side dishes when I roast a chicken anyway so it isn’t a big deal. I think that this cooking method is really the key to a successfully roasted, deliciously juicy and flavorful chicken.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Put the chicken in for 15 minutes. Turn the oven down to 450 and roast an additional 15 minutes.

Ohhhhh, we're halfway there, whooooaaaa, roasting on a prayer

Next you baste the chicken. The recipe I used the first time said to use the pan drippings. Well, there were only a few tablespoons of drippings and I burnt myself trying to get them out (I do not have a basting syringe thingy.) So I just melted half a stick of butter and poured it over that sucker. Delicious. This time I basted with a mixture of melted butter and wine.

Put the chicken back in the oven, reduce the heat to 425 and roast for an addition 30 minutes or until an internal temperature of 160 degrees. The first time I did it, I roasted to 165, waited 15 minutes for it to cool, sliced in and it was still totally pink. So back into the oven. It’s kind of hard to know if it really is done, so I suggest testing the temperature in a few places. The tip of your thermometer should be deep in the meat but NOT touching a bone. Once I baked the chicken to 190 internal temperature, then freaked out and whined about how it was going to be dry the whole way to the Thanksgiving party I had made it for. It was perfect. Sometimes it is just hard to know, and more often than not, it will turn out fine. (Also, make gravy. That way if it is dry your guests can help it out a smidge)

Voila, a chicken masterpiece!

Some side dishes I enjoy with whole roasted chickens:

Potatoes roasted in the bottom of the pan in some white wine

Mashed potatoes (I especially like this recipe with goat cheese. One amendment, I just mixed the goat cheese in instead of putting little pats on top.)

Fresh green beans, prepared this way

Roasted broccoli and cauliflower. I always use the precut kind, but you don’t have to. Mix flourettes of broccoli and cauliflower with olive oil, red wine vinegar and lemon juice and some herbs. I like to use oregano, garlic and some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes. Put in the oven in a casserole (I suggest lining it with parchment paper) and bake for 30 to 45 minutes around 450 degrees.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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Isn’t it beautiful!

All this beauty makes me want to be outside! But first, a quick blog post.

Here are some photos of our backyard, where Tucker has lots of fun! There is also a fire pit, which we haven’t gotten to enjoy quite yet, but the weather is getting warmer so we should be able to soon!

The fire pit!

The deck. There's a basketball hoop to the left. This is a view from the upstairs landing.

Enjoy the weather!

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House photos!

Here are some photos of the front portion of the house.

The view from the front door. The living room is to the right, the kitchen is around the corner to the left. The first door on the left in the hallway goes upstairs, the second is a coat closet. That is the office straight ahead.

The entrance to the living room

The fireplace. I am still working on finding frames I like for wedding photos to go above the mantle.

The other end of the living room. The window looks onto the front porch.

The kitchen! We love to cook. Paul installed the pot rack above the stove, and I made the curtain at the back left for an appliance garage. Hopefully you can forgive the mess and clutter. It's also nice having a bar to eat at, as there isn't really room for a dining table anywhere.

We don't really know what to call this room. It's just kind of stuck in the middle with no room for a dining room table.

The dining table is on the enclosed porch, but we don't ever actually eat there. The porch also serves as the place for Goodwill donations and recyclables. Also, WordPress won't let me flip the photo and I don't feel like fighting with it. So sorry about that.

This door goes to the patio in the backyard. It conveniently came with a doggy door, so the dog can come inside or go outside when we aren't home. Same story with the sideways photo.

So that’s the main part of the home.

Coming next week:

Roasted chicken!

The outside of our home

The back of our home (bedroom, office and bathroom)

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A quick apology, a quick update

So sorry for the hiatus. Just thought I’d give you a quick update and tell you about my new initiatives to make sure I blog at least once a week.

First of all, I am spring cleaning this week, so I will have photos of the rest of the house up this week.

Second, quite a while ago, I gave myself a goal of cooking one new recipe each week. The point was to try and learn new techniques, new foods, new flavors and to reduce the amount of eating out we did. A goal that kind of piggybacked was to do more meal planning, take grocery store trips that were less frequent and more accomplished and to reduce the amount of food that is in our freezer and refrigerator. When we moved to Indy, I started putting a list on the refrigerator of what we had ingredients to make.

With the cruise, the holidays and the move all piling up in December, the new-recipe-a-week goal went by the wayside, so I am now renewing that goal, and each week I will blog about it , providing a recipe, photos, notes and pointers in case anyone else wants to join me or thinks a particular recipe sounds particularly delicious.

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