Sunday, April 24, 2011

Roasted Chicken, with vegetables

I've posted a time or two before about how much I love rotisserie chicken...I decided to be brave and try roasting one myself. I was actually very intimidated by the thought until I saw an episode of the Food Nanny that featured someone with an even greater raw meat phobia than I.

I determined then to conquer my fear. And I'm glad I did, it turned out fabulous! Moist, juicy, tender chicken. Even better than from the store. Not only that but for less than $5 we had a yummy dinner, enough leftover for another dinner plus after making chicken stock and "picking the bones" had enough left to make our new favorite chicken taquitos, not to mention the chicken stock and gravy I will freeze and use for later. It's the tastiest budget meal, I just wish I'd known years ago how easy it was to do!

Roasted Chicken with Vegetables
1 whole chicken
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon
3 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon thyme
1 cup water

1 onion, diced
4 carrots, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
5-6 potatoes, cubed

Pair of rubber gloves (if you're wimpy like me)
Large roasting pan (I picked mine up for only $30 at BB&B)

Chop all veggies and mix all dry seasoning ingredients in a small bowl. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Then don those gloves unless you're brave enough to touch raw meat (I finally am!) Now, remove and discard giblets from chicken (this is the gross part but fortunately I discovered mine were neatly packaged in a bag so I didn't even have to see them!) Rinse chicken cavity and pat dry with paper towel.

Give the chicken a good rubdown with some olive oil and then rub the seasoning mixture inside and out. Set chicken in roasting pan and place chopped veggies all around it. It's recommended to refrigerate this for a few hours or overnight, I didn't because I didn't plan ahead- and it still turned out perfectly tender and juicy, so don't worry if you miss this step.

It is recommended to place the chicken breast side down but honestly I have no idea which is the breast and which is the back and since you rotate it halfway through cooking it really doesn't matter (details, details). So just put the thing in however you want and after about 45 minutes turn it over. I also added a cup of water at this point to keep the veggies tender and help the chicken stay moist. I baked for another 45-50 minutes. It should take about an hour and a half for the entire cooking process. Just cut into the center to make sure the pink is gone- but do not overcook or it will be dry. The vegetables are flavored nicely by the drippings so no need for extra seasonings.

After spooning out the vegetables I poured the leftover drippings into a saucepan and made some delicious gravy by just adding some flour and thinning it with milk to make it creamy. There are some pretty good instructions for that here

Then took the remaining chicken bones and skin and made some chicken stock to use later (see below. It freezes really well so you don't have to use right away and is much more flavorful than storebought stock). So there you go, a good 2-3 meals (soup, chicken taquitos, chicken salad sandwiches, etc.) for $5.

Chicken Stock

Chicken- bones, skin and all, including pan drippings
1 onion chopped- with skin
1-2 stalks celery roughly chopped
Other stray vegetable parts

I'm sure there are lots of ways to make chicken stock, but I'll share the way I do it.

After you've removed the meat you want to eat from the chicken, put the entire thing in the pot including any pan drippings and vegetable trimmings, and fill the pot to almost cover the chicken (the more water the thinner the stock will be).

Add all ingredients into large stock pot and fill to cover two thirds of the chicken.

Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer on low for 1-2 hours. You'll know when it's ready because your entire house will start to smell like chicken noodle soup. Turn heat off and let sit on the stove until cooled (just don't be like me and forget about it until the next morning!)

Strain the liquid into a container- it will look something like this (right). Throw away the vegetable trimmings and pick the meat off the chicken bones- it will be soft and come off easily. You'll be surprised- you should get around a cup or so of shredded chicken which is perfect for taquitos, adding to soups or making chicken salad sandwiches.

Put the liquid in the refrigerator overnight. It will solidify into a jello-like substance which looks /7kind of  gross- but that means you did it right. Now you can either freeze it or add water to thin it out and use in your favorite recipe- everything you make with this will taste SO much better than with storebought stock. Here are a few of my favorite recipes that use chicken stock:

Chicken Noodle Soup (simply add noodles and veggies!)
Chicken Tortilla Soup (perfect for using this leftover chicken)

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