Last time I made bone-in chicken, I didn't quite get it done and I ended up with soggy, chewy, most likely bacteria-laden drumsticks that didn't get eaten... I've also made a full chicken in a crock pot before, but that also didn't give me that crispy, brown skin that a roasted chicken usually has.
So I bit the bullet and looked up a recipe. I chose Ina Garten's recipe from Food Network. I trust her, I feel like we're friends. She cuts corners when necessary, like a store-bought pound cake covered with berries and fudge when she has made a roasted rack of lamb and dill fingerling potatoes... or a cheese, cracker, prosciutto plate to introduce her wheatberry salad and mustard-roasted fish entree...
She knows how to get things done right, and who doesn't envy her endless parade of talented friends... From a professional tablecloth maker, or the guy who made the flower arrangements for the Monaco royal wedding. (I'm not completely sure those people are her friends, but you know the type).
So I followed her lead, and created a roasted chicken TO DIE FOR. As soon as I took a bite, I knew I would use this recipe again and again. I've finally mastered the art of the roasted chicken! Bring on the engagement rings fellows, I'm ready to be married off.
Ahem... Back to the chicken... So, I know the recipe says to tie this sucker up... but that's just not my style of cooking, if you catch my drift, (aka I didn't have any kitchen string). So I let the little lady wiggle and flap in the wind while I dressed her up with butter, oil, thyme, garlic from my CSA, onions, potatoes, salt and pepper.
Now, most roasted chickens are cooked breast-side up... But I always feel like that encourages the juices to drain down to the bottom of the chicken, leaving the white meat all dry and chewy. So I flipped that little lady upside down. Now, I do have science to back this technique up... it's called GRAVITY. But, you don't get that crusty, crispy, brown, oily skin on top of the breast, unless you peel it off the bottom and put it wherever you darn well please!
I also stuffed some goodies (butter, garlic cloves and thyme) between the meat and the skin before I roasted it.
That's the good stuff right there. Learned that one from Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.
Here's how's it's done, ladies and gents, adapted from Miss Garten herself.
- 1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
- 2 heads garlic
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 8-10 green onion bulbs
- plenty of red potatoes, sliced in half
- 1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
- Olive oil
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme and one of the garlic heads sliced in half. Massage the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Lift the skin off the meat and stuff some more garlic cloves and butter down there with a little thyme.
Place the onions, potatoes, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of stripped thyme (just the leaves, not the stems), and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top, breast-side down.
Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.
I saved the stems and sticks for a stock that I'll make from the carcass. Easy to freeze 'till I'm ready for it.
On another note, I made the rounds at some of the non-downtown farmers markets yesterday, and I had a sad encounter at a certain suburb's market. I was craving some cantaloupe, as you already know if you read this blog, so I spotted some and my desires overcame my brainwaves and I asked the guy where they were grown... Hoping he would reply, "my green house!" or "my magically, unseasonably warm soil just down the street!" His response was, "I don't know, don't they have a sticker on them?" Yes... they did have a sticker.... They were grown in California... Crap.