Tuesday, March 10, 2009

easy roasted chicken (cook once, eat 3 times...)

I love roasted chicken, and this is a super-easy way to do it. Cook it on a Sunday and eat quick chicken soup on Monday and enchiladas or pasta another night-recipes to come! (Eat three times from a $4 chicken or $8 if organic-still a bargain in today's economy.) Of course if you have a larger family or active teenagers, you might not have many leftovers! (Consider roasting two!)

This is how my Mom does the chicken, and I love it. We used to stuff the chicken if it was a big one, but I skip that these days. I also use a pyrex dish, but you can use a shallow metal baking pan. Anything that will keep in the juices is fine. I no longer wash the chicken, as I read somewhere the washing actually spreads bacteria. I try to keep one hand clean, but I usually end up washing my hands a few times during prep. It really helps if you can have a child or helper pour on the spices and oil while you turn and rub the chicken. If you don't like handling raw chicken you can use a basting brush. It tends to be cheaper than rotisserie chicken and you get to eat it when its just out of the oven and enjoy the roasting smell!

No fuss Roast chicken (preheat oven to 450 degrees) prep time less than 10 minutes
cook time 1 1/2 hours (ingredients in purple)

1 roaster chicken, remove neck or innards from the cavity (save neck if doing soup)

1)rub chicken with salt (2 teaspoons or so,) pepper, paprika (1-2 tsps) and Italian herbs (2 tsps or so) with a drizzle of olive oil to coat. (See bottom picture.) 
2)Place bird with the breast up, little wings tucked under. You don't need to tie the legs. (Optional is to crush 2 cloves of garlic into the hole...)
Be sure there is oil on the bottom of the bird/pan so it doesn't stick. 
3)Place in 450 degree oven with tin foil loosely covering. Turn heat down to 400 after 30 minutes and cook another hour or so (longer for bigger chicken.) Cut in near thigh to look for clear juices, or use a meat thermometer (will say what temp on it.) You may brush it with oil during cooking, but I've omitted this step and it turns out fine. When its done it looks like the chicken at top of page. If you want to eat the skin and get it a little crispy, just remove the foil with about 15 minutes left. You'll need to pay a little more attention then that it doesn't burn. 

I overcooked it last time, so the meat was falling off the bones and it was still awesome. Its pretty fool-proof. My husband LOVES chicken and could eat the whole thing, and my daughter likes the breast meat dipped in ketchup of course! Its fun now at 3 1/2 that she is starting to notice and comment on the smells of cooking. Its so rewarding when she comes into the kitchen and says "Mommy, it smells so yummy!" (Not so fun when she says "it smells yucky"– dill for example...)

Serve with oven potato sides, or mashed potatoes, rice, noodles, broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots and peas, microwaved acorn squash with a little butter and brown sugar, stuffing...  

Save left-over bones in a bag with drippings too (makes an awesome soup, recipe to come...)

Can shred any leftover meat and store in a ziplock bag for enchiladas, pulled chicken sandwiches...

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