Thursday, 7 February 2013

Roast Chicken

Last August I decided that we weren't eating nearly enough homemade food. We used to cook a lot in the pre-kids olden days, but life had since gotten pretty busy and hectic and freezer meals from the grocery store and delivery food were so much simpler... and unhealthier... and more expensive... So my new school year's resolution was to start cooking more no matter how busy or rushed we might feel. Here we are about six months later and I've discovered that it's usually just as simple to throw something together from fresh ingredients... and healthier... and cheaper... and also a lot more fun!

One of the first dishes I made at the end of last summer was a whole roasted chicken complete with veggies and potatoes. It turned out beautifully yummy. And when the kids asked where it came from (since no one had rung the door bell to deliver it to our house), I knew I was on the right track!

Since then I've been roasting a chicken about once every two weeks. I love that we get a good meal out of it and still have enough leftovers to make something else like chicken salad sandwiches or chicken fried rice. When I'm feeling like spending a little more time in the kitchen I toss all the bones and some veggies into the pressure cooker after dinner to make some stock.

Sometimes I make the chicken in the pressure cooker using this recipe if we're working under time constraints and my chicken is small enough to fit in the pot. The chicken turns out really moist but not very pretty since I haven't figured out yet how to properly brown the chicken skin in the pressure cooker without all the skin getting blasted off at some point during the pressure cooking which results in a funny-looking naked chicken when the lid comes off. It's still tasty and moist but I serve it on a platter off the bone.

Tonight I made a roast chicken in the oven inspired by Jamie Oliver's recipe. I placed a few bacon strips on top of the chicken during cooking since I already had an open pack in the fridge from earlier this week, and they were the clear highlight of the dish for my kiddos. I think they would have been happiest if I'd just skipped the chicken altogether and simply fed them a half pack of bacon!

Roast chicken
inspired by Jamie Oliver

  • ~2 kg/4lb whole chicken
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 2 sticks celery 
  • 1 bulb garlic (Yes, a whole bulb, not just a single clove. Garlic is good!)
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme, rosemary, bay or sage, or dried poultry seasoning
     Preheat oven to 400F.
  1. Chop the onions into quarters, the carrots and celery into finger length pieces, and peel all the garlic. Place it all in your roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. 
  2. Rinse and pat dry the chicken. Rub with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 
  3. Make many small cuts into the lemon, and then place that in the chicken cavity with the herbs.
  4. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and put in the oven for about 1 hour 20 minutes. 
  5. After about 30-35 minutes, baste the chicken (or add bacon strips on top like I did tonight!). Also add in some quartered potatoes at this point if you'd like to cook your dinner all in the same pan. 
  6. Give the potatoes and all the stray veggies a stir after another 30 mins and add a little water if the pan is looking dry so things don't burn. 
  7. When the chicken is cooked based on your meat thermometer reading, remove from oven and let sit for about 15 minutes before carving.

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