Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day to all you Mothers, Mommies, Mums, and "Mutha's"....

It's Mother's Day and for me that means I am barred from the kitchen.  That's right, DH and the little GP's don't allow me to cook or clean up on Mother's Day.  The cleaning up, I can deal with, but the cooking is killing me today.  I've been reading so many blogs this weekend, and finding so many new recipes I want to try that I am antsy to get back in the kitchen.

Warning, this post is very long.....I can't help it, I love roasted chicken.......

Now if I were cooking today, something for myself, it would be a roasted chicken.  Next to a nice juicy steak, nothing beats a perfectly roasted chicken with homemade gravy and mashed garlic potatoes.  At least in my book.  And since I am still working on my steak technique, I would cook myself a roasted chicken.  Extra crispy skin, please.  And pass the gravy.

But since I can't, I will just have to blog about the one I made yesterday.  Guess, I had my roasted chicken after all. ;)

I wanted a simple roast chicken, nothing to herb-ey.  Since I will be using the left over chicken carcass (carcass, every time I hear that word I think of buzzards picking at some roadkill, isn't there a better word?) to make chicken stock because my freezer is out at the moment.     I was also out of a lot of fresh herbs, carrots, and celery, oh and to lazy to go to the store.  Usually my favorite recipe for simple roast chicken is Thomas Keller's method, dry the chicken inside and out, let the kosher salt rain down on the skin, sprinkle with fresh black pepper, truss, and roast at 450 degrees for about an hour.  But with this method comes a lot of smoke, maybe it's the pan I use or fatty chickens, I don't know.  I do know  I wasn't in the mood for being smoked out, and since it's 90 degrees here I couldn't open my windows,  I went a different route.

Cooks Illustrated starts their chicken off  with a brine, slathers on an herb rub, roasts on one side, flips and finishes on the other.  I like this method.  Since I didn't have homemade broth, I decided to skip the brine today.  Last time I brined and used low sodium broth the end result was still a little too salty for the gravy.  Don't know if I just didn't rinse the chicken well enough or not.  I didn't want a salty gravy, or one I would have to dilute.  Gravy makes my world go round, didn't want to mess it up, so I skipped the brining.  Feel free to brine, or not brine, there is no question, a chicken roasted properly doesn't have to be brined.

Did I happen to mention I hate to clean a rack after roasting a turkey or chicken? I do, I hate it more than anything, so here is my solution.  Foil.  I love  foil.  I just take a small piece and wrap it around each rack grate (are they grates?) and the bottom that touches the pan.  Saves me a ton of time (and cursing) during clean up.  I also love foil when I run out of twine for trussing my chicken.  Easy peasey made just for me-sey.

So here it is, a simple roast chicken for when the fridge is bare and you are too lazy to drive to the store:

Simple Roasted Chicken with Garlic Butter

1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds)
1 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature (you won't need all of it, just make sure you have enough on hand)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 small clove garlic
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth ( I prefer homemade or Swanson Organic)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup dry white wine or vermouth (can omit and use all broth)
1 sprig of rosemary or thyme (optional)

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Set V-rack in small roasting pan and lightly spray rack with nonstick cooking spray, or cover the with foil like I did.

Remove the giblets from the inside of the chicken.  I toss them except for the neck.  Don't bother to rinse the chicken, rinsing your chicken is not necessary, in fact the FDA advises against it since you can contaminate your kitchen more so by doing it, so don't do it.  K?

Take 1/2 stick unsalted butter at room temperature in a small bowl, press, finely mince, grate, put through a food processor, whatever is your chosen method for finely mincing one small clove of garlic, do it, and add it  into the butter, then add about a 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, and some fresh ground pepper black pepper, maybe an 1/4 -1/8 of a tsp (all depends on how much you like pepper, I lerve it!)

Loosen the skin from the chicken, careful not to tear it. Grab up some of that butter and rub it under the skin, I go heavy on the breasts since that is the favorite for the GP's and part of the chicken most in need of flavor and moisture.  Lay it on thick, I do.  Butter makes everything better.  After the breast is done go down into the legs.  Rub the skin down with some of the unflavored butter, or olive oil, and season it up with a little kosher salt and pepper.

Season the inside of the chicken cavity with salt and pepper.  I don't have an exact measurement, just a pinch inside of kosher salt should do the trick and a few grinds of pepper.  Now if you are a trusser, truss, if you are not, don't.  I found myself out of twine so I ended up using foil, which was a heck of a lot easier!  Just tear of a small piece of foil, going lengthwise, roll it, scrunch it, do whatever it takes until it looks like a piece of long rope.  Cross the legs together and wrap the foil around the legs, twist it to tighten it so that it stays. I love foil.

I roast two at a time, using the same timing.  These are breast side up, you want to begin with them breast side down. Notice the little necks.  Great for the gravy.

Add the onion to the pan and place those necks right on top.  Set your chicken on the rack breast side down and place in the roasting pan. Roast chicken for 30 minutes.

Remove roasting pan from oven; decrease oven temperature to 375 degrees. Using tongs or wads of paper towels, (or silicon heat resistant oven mitts like I have) and rotate chicken breast-side up; brush breast with 1 teaspoon oil or melted butter. Add 1 cup broth and 1/2 cup water to pan and continue to roast until chicken is medium golden brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast  is 160 degrees, or thigh registers about 175 degrees, (an additional hour in my oven, but you should really go by the temperature of the chicken.) Tip V-rack to allow juices in cavity to run into roasting pan. Transfer chicken to a plate to catch any additional juices.. Let it rest at least 15 minutes before trying to carve, I wait 20.  While you wait, make the gravy.

Remove chicken neck and onions, set aside for gravy.  Using a wooden spoon, scrape up browned bits in roasting pan and pour into a fat separator, or into a freezer baggie set inside of a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Allow liquid to settle; once settled if you are using the baggie method,  seal the baggie, it should be in a cone shape from the 2 cup measuring cup, snip of the end over a small saucepan.  Keep the measuring cup close by, when you get down to the fat, plop the baggie in the measuring cup.  Don't throw this down the drain of your sink, it will congeal and clog it.

Once you transfer the juices to small saucepan, then add wine, onions from the pan, chicken neck, herb sprig, and remaining broth; simmer over medium heat, until you have the flavor you want, about 10-15 minutes. Add accumulated juices from chicken and discard herb sprig and chicken neck.  If you like a thicker gravy like I do, take a tablespoon or two of cornstarch and add enough water to make a thin paste, or a slurry.  Whisk in a little at a time to your boiling broth, you may not use all of it, you may need more, depends on your preference. When you are happy with the consistency, adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper to taste.

Carve chicken and serve with gravy and savor that deliciousness.   As you can see I make two at a time, I save the bones and wings for stock, and any leftover chicken is either used up the next day simmered in leftover gravy and poured over white bread, or if I'm out of gravy I use the leftovers for chicken salad.  De-lish!

Tizzy Sig

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