Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Roast Chicken Win!


However inelegant the picture may be, this chicken was "super, completely and totally"  fabulous!  For such a basic dish, this one seems to scare some people.  Or was it just me?  I must say, the last time I tried a roast chicken it came out bland and undercooked.  I think I ended up nuking the pieces we wanted to eat and I don't remember what became of the carcass.  It was a colossal waste of a good chicken.  This time was a complete 180º from that.  Succulently moist, tender and wonderfully flavorful.  I will never fear roast chicken again.  And there is a wonderful pot of stock brewing in the crockpot from the picked carcass. 

Look for deals on close to date whole free range chickens to get the most bang for your buck.  This chicken was $5 on sale but needed to be used or frozen by the next day.  I have been trying to use more whole chickens of late since they are SIGNIFICANTLY CHEAPER than the value added packages of boneless skinless what-have-you.  Less processing means better quality really, since you know there have been less opportunities for contamination.  Not to mention it's all the same bird.  Now when it comes to preparing the bird, there are various ways of trussing, trimming and filling, but that is completely at your discretion.  I didn't feel the need to truss the whole bird, though it does make a prettier package.  For the most part this recipe is taken from Tyler Florence and bless his heart because some of his other recipes have been amazing wins for me as well.  This one, well, my hubby is usually just a white meat breast man.  This time, he went back and grabbed more for seconds even after the breasts were gone.  And he loved the skin, which is not something we used to eat.  When it came came out of the oven, my daughter said, "Mommy, that looks awesome!"  It smelled divine too.  More importantly, everyone chowed down on it and asked for seconds.  Seconds is definitely a win in this family.

Ultimate Roast Chicken

1 (5 ½ pound) free-range chicken
½ bunch each fresh oregano, lemon thyme, and parsley (it's okay to use dried or part dried - use half as much dried as you would fresh.)
1 stick butter (¼ lb), softened
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small orange, halved
½ head garlic (I used ¾ head sliced in half)
1 medium onion, quartered (I used ½ a large red I had on hand)
6 strips thick, good bacon

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

Rinse the chicken with cool water, inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels.  Season the inside with salt and pepper.  Divide the herbs, keeping ½ of them whole.  Finely chop the other half and mash in a small bowl with the softened butter until combined.  Loosen the skin with your fingers and rub or pat the herbed butter under the skin, as well as all over the outside of the chicken.  (To get to the thighs, go in from the back skin.)  Season the bird all over with salt and pepper.  Stuff the cavity with the orange, garlic, onion, and the remaining herbs.  Depending on the size of your bird, you may not be able to fit it all in; don't overstuff it or it will take too long to cook.  Tie the legs together with kitchen twine to help hold its shape.  Place the chicken, breast-side up, in a roasting pan.  Lay the strips of bacon across the breast of the chicken and roast for 30 minutes.

Remove the bacon and baste the chicken with the drippings and cook for another 30 minutes to brown the skin. (You can finish frying up the bacon for an appetizer to appease the clamoring kids.)  The chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer reads 165ºF when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (the legs of the chicken should wiggle easily from the sockets too.)  Remove the chicken to a platter and let stand for 10 minutes, so the juices settle back into the meat before carving.  And yes, the rest time makes a difference - it will give you more moist juicy chicken.  (If you find that the chicken is not quite done in the middle, I recommend removing the aromatics and finishing that way.  It will get done quicker and you won't have to worry about over-browning the skin.  Another reason not to overstuff the bird.)

Optional cool way to serve: carve the chicken tableside and squeeze the oranges from the cavity over the meat.

After this success, I'll be on the lookout for good deals on good local free range chicken.  This will go into regular rotation on the dinner circuit.


1 comment:

doughadear said...

Hobby Baker,
Your roasted chicken looks perfect!
Thank you for visiting my blog recently. I really enjoy everybody's comments.

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