Sunday, February 11, 2007

Roasted Chicken, done right.

The glories of perfectly roasted chicken are manifold. Crisp skin, juicy meat, bones to make wonderful stock...but the possible detriments are also numerous -- burnt skin, chewy meat, salty broth. Roasting a chicken properly is difficult -- fully cooked, yet not overcooked. It is a fine line, really. You want to create luscious dinner with the possibility of tasty leftovers... without subjecting you or your guests to food poisoning.

Here is my recipe for both the chicken and the resulting stock. I love to make roasted chicken on Sunday nights. Honestly, I'm a bit of 1950s housewife. Minus the house, husband, and children, of course. I *literally* put on an apron, tie up my hair, get dirty, and make a full Sunday dinner most weeks. I consider my ability (and desire) to do this as part of my dowery. :)

I encourage you give it a try, at least once and awhile. There is some kind of therapy in chopping, rubbing, sauteing, and stirring...I promise.

Roasted Chicken, done right -- serves 5 or 6, or less with lots of leftovers


--1 chicken, about 4 lbs (try to get organic and/or free range for better flavor and more peace of mind)
--5 stalks carrots, roughly chopped
--5 stalks celery, roughly chopped
--2 onions (or 5 shallots) roughly chopped
--2 Meyer lemons, thinly sliced
--4 sprigs fresh rosemary
--salt, freshly ground, to taste (at least 1 teaspoon)
--pepper, freshly ground, to taste (at least 1 teaspoon)
--garlic, fresh or ground, to taste (at least 1 teaspoon)
--olive oil


1) preheat oven to 400 degrees
2) place carrots, celery, onions into bottom of large roasting pan
3) separate skin from flesh of chicken,
4) rub, with your bare hands, under the skin of the chicken and into the meat, a slurry of olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic (a kitchen assistant is useful here to pour the seasonings into your hands)
5) place Meyer lemon slices and rosemary sprigs evenly under the skin, all around the chicken
6) rub the outside of the chicken with oil, salt, and pepper
7) place on top of veggies in the pan
8) pour 1 cup of water into the pan
9) bake, at 400 degrees, for 1:40 in convection oven or 2:15 in normal oven (or until done -- when you can cut into the meat at the bone without seeing blood or pinkness. Don't eat raw chicken, you ninny)

To serve:

Carve and serve the chicken. Yum. For this particular dinner we served it with blanched broccoli doused with lemon juice and olive oil and oven-fried baby potatoes.


You don't have to roast the chicken on a bed of veggies -- you can bake the chicken on a rack in an empty pan if you like. However, you are going to add carrots, celery, and onion to your stock later, so you might as well toss them into the roasting pan under the chicken. Besides, I'm convinced that the veggies add more flavor if they have been roasted before being added to your stock.

Delicious bed of carrots, celery, and onions, pre-chicken

Bed of veggies, with chicken as a welcome guest, just before entering the oven. If you look closely, you can see the Meyer lemon slices and rosemary sprigs under the skin. I don't have a picture of the final Roasted Chicken for a reason. I accidently poured my martini (very dirty, vodka) onto my camera. Seriously. (Wish me luck in rehabilitaing the camera... and myself).

Basic Chicken Stock


--1 chicken carcass, stripped of most of its meat
--organs and other gross things from the bag inside the chicken (but not the bag itself!)
--leftover carrots, celery, onions, and juice from roasting pan (see above)
--bay leaf


1) Add about 3 cups of water and then boil all ingredients together for a long time... 7 -8 hours is best, 2 at minimum. The longer you boil, the more flavor and nutrition is extracted from the bones.
2) strain all solids out, refrigerate liquid overnight, or at least 8 hours
3) scrape off fat from top of jelled stock
4) use in everything from soup, to sauce, to rice dishes (watch for our stock to reappear in risotto this week)


Use the leftover meat in chicken salad, sandwiches, stir fry, soup, etc. This dinner can turn into 3 or 4 meals very easily.

On an entirely differenly note, here is the fruit for the week. Bananas, Mango, Kiwi, Apples (both Pink Lady and Fuji), oranges (navel and mandarin), and lemons. Mmmmm, fruity goodness.

No comments: