Wednesday, July 13, 2011

#51 - CHICKENS BEWARE - I like you a lot!

I am determined to learn how to cook a fabulous, juicy, flavorful oven-roasted whole chicken. Cooking is something that I did for many years as my daughters were growing up because I was the main one at home in the kitchen. It was an honor to do these mommy things. But, even though I could cook any kind of Italian dish and much more, I never made oven-roasted whole chicken.

This past year, I decided that I would keep trying until I had perfected a tasty, memorable oven-roasted chicken.

My first try was delicious; but all wrong. I roasted the chicken upside down. Still, it tasted great, but the top of the chicken with the breasts that normally look nicely browned and seasoned came out of the oven not looking exactly picturesque. But, we ate it.

From my living room window, the chickens are safe, as of now.
And no, these chickens have not come from our flock. One day, I will be processing our own home-raised chickens for our dinner table, but we're not quite to that point just yet. So, for now, my chicken comes from the grocery store.

For now, we only have chickens for future eggs. Still waiting for our 1st egg!
This time, I prepared my chicken by removing all the insides, rinsing the chicken and patting it dry. Then, I took a home-prepared seasoning mix of cracked pepper, ground sea salt and garlic; I rubbed the seasoning everywhere...inside the cavity, under the skin, all over the outside of the chicken, and I also rubbed salted butter into the skin. That bird was spiced up and butter slathered!

Next, I took three large carrots and a few potatoes that Deputy Dave had harvested from our garden, and I lightly peeled them and cut them into chunks.

I sprayed the roasting pan with a light coating of cooking spray and put the chicken into the center of the pan...breast-side up. I stuffed a few veggies into the chicken cavity along with a couple of whole garlic cloves and then cut a large yellow onion into quarters and put part of the onion into the chicken cavity. I took a few individual layers of onion and put them under the skin. The remainder of the onion was separated into thin layers and I laid these layers along the bottom of the rest of the exposed roasting pan so that the pan had a floor with layers of onion. I put the carrots and potato chunks on top of the onion layers.

With the contents of the pan in place, I sprinkled more of the seasoning all over the vegetables and cut dabs of butter pats among the veggies.

Into the oven the bird goes, at about 400 degrees. I used an internal thermometer to determine chicken doneness. Every now and then, I would take out the pan and turn the veggies and spoon pan juices over the bird, then pop it back into the oven. After about ten minutes, I reduced the oven temperature to about 350 degrees for the remainder of the cooking time.

The chicken browned beautifully. I did not take a picture of it when done, but the veggies had delicious partial caramelization. The onions that had sat at the bottom of the pan added delicious flavor and those were fully caramelized as well. I was amazed at the flavor because the ingredients were simple and the seasonings were straight-forward you-can-find-it-in-your-spice-cabinet-variety, nothing fancy.

This is one of my favorite meals to cook. It takes just a little bit of preparation to create such a fulfilling dinner and once it is in the oven, you have minimal worry and fuss. I can't wait to try different variations of oven roasted chicken, but I must pace myself. I am going to try to make a different oven roasted chicken meal about once a week, and I'll let you know how it goes.

If you have any suggestions, I'll gladly take them!

Me happy about making a good oven-roasted chicken!
I'm wearing the necklace my husband made for me. It has an "L" for Lana.
As a young girl, I watched Laverne & Shirley, always jealous of
Laverne's sweaters with the embroidered "L" that she sported.
Finally, I have a "Laverne" moment, but as the woman I am...
Lana. I finally have my very own "L" to wear!!!!


LindaG said...

Sounds fantastic, Lana. I definitely want to give this a try. :)

Farmchick said...

I love roasting chickens...yours looks so good. :) I am just out visiting new blogs. Hope you can stop by my farm and say hi too! :)