Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Roasted Chicken (Your Way)

There are a few recipes that I find daunting. Souffles used to be one. Clams and mussels are another, but maybe that's because I don't like them. Ahi tuna? Forget it! Some recipes look (and are!) so tempermental, and I'm afraid to mess them up, although it has happened that I screwed up a recipe so bad that we ended up eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches instead :)

Roast chicken was also one of those recipes. Something about "discarding the innards" threw me off. The fear of undercooking it...or overcooking it. I was just as happy cooking up chicken breasts. Until I finally got brave and tried it. It is So. Surprisingly. Easy! And, best yet, you can make it however you want. I prefer lemon and fresh herbs, the lemon seeps through the whole chicken, giving it a light citrus taste, and the herbs make it taste fresh and flavorful. I generally use thyme or rosemary, but basil would be great too, or anything else you're just giddy to try.

The chicken and its friends. I got this whole chicken (about 3-4 lbs) at Target for $4 and, get this...the "innards" were already removed! Bonus!

Rosemary is my favorite herb to use. It's so fragrant and woodsy and amazing.

This is one of my FAVORITE items in my kitchen. My mother-in-law was dejunking a few years ago and came across this Le Creuset pot that she never used. These babies run at over $200 each! It is amazing for Sunday roasts and other recipes that call for a dutch oven.

Usually I roast the chicken with some onion halves at the bottom (it helps keep the bottom from burning if the chicken isn't sitting directly on the bottom of the pot) but my husband has this obsession with fennel. He grew up snacking on it, while I never even heard of it until a few years ago. It's also known as anise, and yes, it tastes licorice-y. To prep it, you cut off the fronds (which would be great as a replacement for rosemary in this chicken), cut the bulb in half, and cut out the thick stem part (picture 3 of the fennel). Isn't it a beautiful vegetable?!

Slice up the lemon, keeping the ends to put inside the chicken. The slices will be set between the chicken and the skin, which will allow the lemon juice to get into the meat. You could even use limes or oranges if you so desired.

Stuff the lemon ends, some rosemary springs, and a few fennel slices into the cavity of the chicken.

Separte the chicken meat from the skin and slip lemon slices and rosemary sprigs (or whatever you are using) around the front, sides, and underneath the chicken.

Place the chicken in a large oven-safe pot and brush with olive oil and salt and pepper. I omit the salt and pepper because we don't eat the skin. I discard it before serving, but brushing it with olive oil helps keep the chicken moist.

The finished product. So good! After we are done eating, I take off the additional chicken and refridgerate it. I like to use it for chicken salad sandwiches, in chicken soup, or in chicken pot pies, which, just so you know, is another recipe coming up in the next week or so.

Roasted Chicken
by Kelli Lafranca

1 whole chicken, 3-4 lbs, innards removed, chicken and cavity rinsed and dried
1 lemon, sliced
9-10 springs rosemary, or other herb
2 onion and/or 2 fennel bulb, halved or quartered (you could also use carrots)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place chicken on cutting board. Using your fingers, separate the skin from the meat. Slide in your rosemary (or herb of choice) and lemon slices around the top, bottom, and sides of the chicken. Stuff the lemon ends, a few herb springs, and a few slices of onion (optional) into the caviety of the chicken.

In a large oven-safe pot or dutch oven, brush the bottom with olive oil. Lay out your vegetables in a single layer and place the chicken on top of the vegetables. The chicken shouldn't touch the bottom of the pot. Brush the skin with more olive oil, and if eating the chicken with skin, sprinkle some salt and pepper on the skin, too.

Bake uncovered for 45-50 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 165 degrees and the juices run clear.

Let rest for 5 minutes before carving and serving.

1 comment:

  1. Festive!!! sounds amazing and it looks super yummy too!