Friday, April 11, 2014

Cooking Catch-up: Roasted Chicken

I haven't forgotten about blogging. I swear! I'm reaching a bit far back on this one though, because why not blog about all those random photos of stuff I've taken in the past?

Now, what do you do when you take photo's of your food because you're proud that you didn't set the kitchen on fire? Other than eating the food of course. Because if you just made it and then walked away that would be all kinds of uncool.

Well, what I do when I take photo's of food is then put those photo's online. It's a lovely process known as 'showing-off-your-ability-to-eat-nice-looking-things' and is drawn from that place where people post about the new game you scored well in that no one really cares about or that awesome new purse that you really couldn't or shouldn't have been able to afford.

I digress. I roasted a chicken once (It was a while ago but I've since roasted different chickens in the same way for a while). It was delish. I recommend roasting your own instead of buying those 10$ pre roasted chickens at the grocery. It takes very little effort.

Here's what I did.

Roasted Chicken

Not going to lie, I was tempted just to show the chicken and be done with it. Would have been funny.

Roasting a chicken isn't hard. You need some basic tools and ingredients but it's flexible most of the time. As long as you have, you know, the chicken you should be able to pull this off with whatever tools or scraps are in your kitchen. For my glorious method here are the tips. 

Please note I give credit where it's due, and generally follow the loose directions from's My First Simple Roast Chicken

Preheat your oven. 450F I believe. 

Pat down your bird. Some people like to wash it first (always remove your giblets or the 'bag of guts' that came with your bird, if it came with your bird). If you have it try it crackles up nicely after you salt and or butter that hen. 

Salt and pepper inside the bird and out. Be generous, it's just salt. And the flavour is awesome. 

Halve one lemon and shove it in the cavity. I say shove because sometimes the lemon is large. either way, stuff it in there. The juices get all nice and, well, juicy and makes the chicken super moist. 

Can we take a moment to reflect on how horrible sounding the word 'moist' is? I think I make a face whenever I say it, but sitting alone and writing right now I can't quite tell. Moist... 

Truss your bird. If you don't know how to truss there are dozens of youTube videos, diagrams, instructions online. I don't think you have to truss a bird, I've done it both ways, but find that the thighs stay a bit juicers and the drumsticks more tender when trussed. Less crispy, more tender. It's a trade off.

Chop some vegetables and toss them in the baking dish. You can use just about anything for this: casserole dish, large frying pan with tall side, crock pot without the lid, roasting pan: it's your choice. Just make sure you use a high pan as the juices will overflow a cookie sheet. For veggies I used onion, celery, carrot and garlic. I didn't plan on eating the celery after but the rest oh yes. The celery adds some flavour to the vegetables. Remember to cut them thick enough not to burn while cooking with your chicken. (I learned that from watching Gordon Ramsay cooking something once). 

Plop your trussed, stuffed and salted chicken on top of your veg. Or not. You can do this without the veggies just as well. But I like the small platform they give the bird. The bottom of it gets less... swampy from the juices.

Pop it into the oven for about an hour. I'm not so exact on this. At about 45 minutes I stab her with a thermometer to see how done she is and go from there. Before I had a thermometer I had the misfortune of cutting the chicken open, finding out it was raw after cut, and putting it back in. All lovely presentation was lost and I went to the dollars store to buy a thermometer. Not required but handy. I did learn some old school tricks for telling if your bird meat is done: when skewered the juice runs clear, the legs are pushing away from the body of the chicken (best noticed is untrussed), and a few others I will probably only remember when cooking again.

You can baste if you like, I rarely bother to remember. With the lemon I've never had to worry about moist meat and fine basting more trouble than rewarding. But for the fussy chef GO FOR IT! BASTE HER LIKE ONE OF YOUR FRENCH GIRLS!

Once done, remove chicken from oven and pan.

Let rest on cutting board for 10-15 minutes to cool and de juice (I remove the lemon first and cut off my twine to have less mess for this process).

Now the veg can sometimes get a little 'soupy' if you used a big lemon so I tend to pop them back in the over to finish off if they are still a little under done. This can happen with smaller birds. Otherwise, drain them and enjoy with your chicken!

I like to cut the chicken up right then and there and portion it out, some people like to carve at the table. Tis your choice, my friend. But either way, juicy chicken is juicy.

You can take that to the bank. They probably won't 'cash' it but I assure you your banker will enjoy the chicken. 

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