Monday, March 14, 2011

Recipes Part 3: Roasted Chicken

As I've mentioned before, there is a particular vendor at the Atherton Market that I buy from pretty much every week. Windy Hill Farm sells lamb, beef, pork, chicken and fresh eggs and everything I have had from them has been amazing. In addition to whole meat pieces, they also make some pretty amazing sausages and Kielbasas and the eggs are fantastic. Among their products right now are whole roaster chickens which I very much wanted to try. Since there are just two people in my household, I knew I would get a lot of use out of an entire chicken but had never prepared one before.

I began, as usual, with my cooking bible. Unfortunately, there are literally 15 pages in The Joy of Cooking about how to roast a chicken. The authors talk about brining the chicken (basically giving the thing a two hour salt soak), roasting trays and other fancy stuff. Newsflash: you don’t need any of that to make a great chicken. I made a really tasty bird on my first try with a brownie pan, the rack out of our toaster oven and some tin foil. Just place a wire frame of some sort over a 1" deep pan, a layer of tin foil (long enough on the ends to wrap around the chicken to keep moisture in), then the chicken and voila.

Simple Roasted Chicken (LPO)
1 whole chicken
½ cup olive oil
½ onion, cut in medium-to-large pieces
4 cloves of garlic
Rosemary (or any spices you like)
  1. Using a pan at least 1" deep, place the chicken on a piece of tin foil long enough to wrap the chicken in (hint: you may need to use two pieces of foil, making an X with them with the chicken in the center)
  2. Use your fingers to rub olive oil all over the bird
  3. Sprinkle salt and pepper and whatever spices or herbs you like over the bird
  4. Stuff the chicken with the garlic and onions
  5. Seal with the tin foil
  6. Cook until the chicken is 180˚ (a useful hint from Joy: measure heat with a thermometer in the thigh but not touching bone)
    Now, a whole chicken produces a fair amount of meat (especially an organic 5 or 6 pounder) so we had a lot left over the first night. Luckily, there are a lot of things you can do with the leftover chicken. I sliced off as much white meat as possible and refrigerated it (some mayo, salt and pepper make a great sandwich!). Then I took what was left (meat, skin, onions, garlic and all) and put it in my largest pot for soup. Below is the recipe for the soup that I made which could easily be adjusted to your favorite spices or consistency: 

    Leftover Chicken Soup
    Whole chicken leftovers
    Other vegetables of your choice (I suggest onions, carrots, garlic and celery)
    Water to fill the pot
    Salt, pepper and other herbs to taste
    1. Put leftovers in the pot
    2. Add vegetables and water almost to the top of the pot
    3. Let simmer covered for 1 hour
    4. Using a strainer or sieve, pour everything from the big pot through a strainer into a smaller pot. This will separate the bones, skin, etc from the liquid
    5. Using a knife and fork , remove any usable meat from the bones (Note: people’s tolerance for what makes it into their soup in terms of sinew and marrow varies. My mother, bless her heart, will literally eat everything from a piece of chicken except the bone itself. I’m more of a purist and basically only want white meat in my soup. The strainer trick is a way to be in control of what meat actually makes it to your final product.)
    6. Return soup to heat and simmer uncovered until the total amount is reduced by about 1/3
    7. Salt and season to taste

    1 comment:

    1. Your mother, bless her heart, made/makes the best chicken & dumplins.
      Good looking recipes(roast & soup),Sarah. Been roasting my chicken with olive oil for awhile now. Never dry, always juicy. Sometimes I use PAM olive oil spray so I can avoid touching the raw chicken too much.