Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Chicken in Every Pot!

I only snapped one photo before this delicious, moist, crisp-skinned chicken was devoured!
Lately I've been getting in the habit of cooking a big meal on Saturday nights.  This past Saturday, I felt like roasting a chicken.  Really...is there anything better than roasted chicken (and, of course, crispy chicken skin!)?

There are a million recipes and techniques out there for roasting a chicken.  Some call for starting out with a super hot oven, others have you flip the chicken from side to side throughout cooking, others say to just throw the chicken in the oven as is.  After reading over a dozen different ways to cook a chicken, I settled on this super easy recipe from everyone's favorite, Martha Stewart...and I must say, I picked the right recipe.  It was a snap to make and it produced chicken that was flavorful, moist, and delicious!

  • 1 six-pound roasting chicken
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
1. Let chicken and 1 tablespoon butter stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove and discard the plastic pop-up timer from chicken if there is one. Remove the giblets and excess fat from the chicken cavity. Rinse chicken inside and out under cold running water. Dry chicken thoroughly with paper towels. Tuck the wing tips under the body. Sprinkle the cavity of the chicken liberally with salt and pepper, and set aside.

2. In the center of a heavy-duty roasting pan, place onion slices in two rows, touching. Place the palm of your hand on top of lemon and, pressing down, roll lemon back and forth several times. This softens the lemon and allows the juice to flow more freely. Pierce entire surface of lemon with a fork. Using the side of a large knife, gently press on garlic cloves to open slightly. Insert garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, and lemon into cavity. Place chicken in pan, on onion slices. Cut about 18 inches of kitchen twine, bring chicken legs forward, cross them, and tie together.

3. Spread the softened butter over entire surface of chicken, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place in the oven, and roast until skin is deep golden brown and crisp and the juices run clear when pierced, about 1 1/2 hours. When chicken seems done, insert an instant-read thermometer into the breast, then the thigh. The breast temperature should read 180 degrees.and the thigh 190 degrees.

4. Remove chicken from oven, and transfer to a cutting board with a well. Let chicken stand 10 to 15 minutes so the juices settle. Use the pan juices to make gravy, as you prefer. Untie the legs, and remove and discard garlic, thyme, and lemon. Carve, and serve gravy on the side.

I didn't love Martha's gravy technique, and instead called upon my trusty Joy of Cooking to make a super yummy, rich, deep brown gravy with leftover pan juices, wine, broth, butter, flour, and (here's a tip) a few drops of lemon.  The lemon juice and wine really added some much needed acidity to the mix.  Here's an embarrassing fact: before Saturday, I had never made gravy.  Lame, right?  But now that I have, it's not a problem.

If you make Martha's Perfect Roasted Chicken, be sure to keep and serve the onions that get cooked (and burnt!) in the roasting pan.  They sit under the chicken, soaking up all the flavor and juices from the roast.  The onions became almost like an onion jam, and were a huge source of flavor.  In Martha's recipe, she says to throw them away.  Really, Martha?  Ditch all that lovely flavor?  You're crazy!

This was sort of a dry run for Thanksgiving dinner...a delicious dry run!

1 comment:

Greta said...

That looks amazing - I am sorry that I missed out!