Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Roast Chicken - An Accomplishment

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I tackled the infamous whole roast chicken this weekend with my friend Anika. And, if I do say so myself, we did quite a good job. Doesn't it look purdy?

There isn't really a "recipe" for roast chicken, but I will tell you step by step what we did and some tips along the way.

First, we washed the birdie inside and out and patted it dry with paper towels. Apparently it is crucial that the chicken be dry (inside and outside) if you want it to have a crisp crust. Then we tucked the wings up inside the bird - as shown above. The butcher tucked the legs in for us, so we didn't need to truss the chicken (i.e. tie up the legs).

After it sat out for about an hour and a half, we started prepping the bird. We salted and peppered the cavity of the chicken from both holes. Kinda gross, honestly. Then we cut up a lemon into quarters, and placed the lemon inside the cavity.

Next, we added about six sprigs of thyme. It was kind of difficult to shove these in since the chicken was full of lemon. It would probably be smarter to add half the thyme before the lemons were added.

Then we popped open a fresh head of garlic and peeled about 6 cloves. We added the cloves to the already-stuffed chicken cavity. Luckily, nothing else needed to be shoved in there after this. Phew.

Then we took about two tablespoons of butter and rubbed it all over the chicken. Literally every crack and crevice we could find. Ideally, your butter will be at room temperature before you do this. We forgot to take it out to warm up, so we had to use the heat from our hands to warm it and made it spreadable. Then we generously salted and peppered the outside of the bird - this way it will taste seasoned instead of salty (if you salted it after cooking).

Then we placed our birdie on a roasting rack on a roasting pan. Anika had to buy these especially for our adventure into roasting chicken! She's such a good sport.

Then we roasted the chicken at 450 degrees for about an hour and 15 minutes. Use a meat thermometer and wait until the temperature of the chicken gets to 165 degrees. When you take it out of the oven, the temperature will rise when resting. We ended up with a very smokey oven and kitchen because of all the drippings getting a bit smokey. A smaller roasting pan might have helped avoid this because the drippings would have been concentrated in a smaller area.

Here it is, fresh out of the oven. Please ignore the puncture wound we inflicted on her from the thermometer.

Then we poured the juices from the chicken into the roasting pan. In retrospect, it would have made sense to pour them directly into the frying pan we were about to use, but oh well. There was a lot of juice that came out - probably from the lemons. Yum...chicken juice...

Then we allowed the birdie to rest on a platter all by itself. We were frantically running around finishing other dishes, so we were glad it had to rest a bit.

It was time for the pan-juice sauce. We dumped all of the pan juices into a heavy-bottom skillet and added about 1/2 cup of chicken stock to it - this "deglazes" the pan - i.e. gets all the gunk off the bottom. We heated this on medium and stirred it with a wooden spoon to get all the bits off the bottom of the pan.

Then we let the sauce reduce by about half. Here it is, simmering away and reducing itself. Then we added about a tablespoon of butter to give it some extra richness. We stirred it around until the butter was melted and voila - the sauce was done!

I attempted to cut up the chicken before we ate, so it wasn't such a mess at the table. I had no clue what I was doing, but the pieces turned out okay looking.

We were so proud of ourselves for roasting our first chicken and it came out exactly like I hoped it would - nice and juicy with a beautiful crispy layer of skin on top. One day, maybe John will be lucky and I will make him one!

1 comment:

  1. And it was SO YUMMY!!!

    And for the record, Kathy did most of the cooking while I stood by and took pictures. I wasn't very good at butter-rubbing-in. :)


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