I have decided that I need to find a recipe that can be my go-to recipe–one I can make pretty easily and know it will turn out and taste great when I am in need of something to cook. I also have been wanting to roast a chicken for awhile. I know that sounds kind of strange–who really has ‘roasting a chicken’ on their want-to-do list, but I think it is one of those things that every cook should know how to do and I have always been intimidated (grossed out actually) by cooking a whole chicken, turkey, etc.
When I saw a chicken at Trader Joe’s for 6 dollars, I knew it was time to try it. Not organic as I would have liked, but I’m on a budget here!
I wanted to make chicken and 40 cloves of garlic but the recipe that I found called for cut up pieces of chicken and while I probably could have done that (?), I didn’t know how, so I just chose a new recipe. Based on the ingredients that I had, I found another Ina Recipe and followed it pretty closely–I didn’t want to screw it up so I figured I probably shouldn’t branch out too much on my first go. The only real change I made is that I omitted the onion simply because I didn’t have one.
I won’t recopy the recipe here since I didn’t really change much–but I will tell you that if you are like me, and avoid entire birds because they make you nervous, the process is actually extremely easy. I know my mom has talked about the simplicity of it before but I still just never did it for some reason.
It really requires very little work for how delicious, juicy and flavorful the chicken comes out. The basic process for this recipe is to pat the chicken dry with paper towels, stuff some lemon and garlic up the chicken’s butt (sorry but it’s true), tie the legs (arms?) together with some twine and then cover the whole bird in olive oil, salt and pepper. Then I threw a few lemon slices in the pan–I used a dutch oven and put that baby in the oven for about an hour and 40 minutes.
I cooked with the lid on for the first 45 minutes and then removed it for the remaining time. I left it in a little longer than Ina said to, but when I put a thermometer in to check the temp, it was only reading 130. Chicken should cook to at least 165 degrees fahrenheit. I have a meat thermometer that gives temps for each kind of meat, which I thought was cool until I realized it says poultry needs to cook until poultry should cook to 180 degrees. What a lying piece of crap!
Once the chicken came out, I made the gravy with the remaining juices + chicken broth + flour + lemon. I’m usually not a huge gravy fan at all…I don’t eat it even on mashed potatoes because I prefer them without, but this gravy had a lemony taste (obviously), which was awesome–definitely a keeper in the gravy department.
I also usually don’t eat the chicken skin–just has more fat and I don’t even think it tastes that great. But this chicken skin was a different story. Because of the olive oil, salt and pepper, it was semi-crispy and reallyyyyy flavorful and delicious. I ate probably more than I should have of the skin.
The top of the chicken looks kind of weird in this picture–it looks overcooked almost, but it was not at all on the inside, it was actually some of the most flavorful chicken I have had in a long time! Not half bad for my first roasting efforts–I think I might have to put this one in regular rotation. I love that I have the leftovers for other recipes and it will be great to use for lunches in the upcoming week.
I figured if I was roasting a chicken, I might as well go all out and make some mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes are another thing that seem like kind of a lot of work, but in actuality they are incredibly easy to make.
Thyme and Rosemary Red Skin Mashed Potatoes
6-8 large red skin potatoes
1/2 cup milk
1 T butter or olive oil
1/2 cup rosemary and thyme (even amounts of each, or use more of one if you prefer it)
salt and pepper to taste
For this recipe, I just boiled the potatoes until they were soft enough to be pierced with a fork. I drained the water and added the milk and olive oil (normally I would have used butter but I didn’t have any, olive oil worked really well as a replacement). I added salt and mashed with a potato masher. If you wanted super creamy potatoes, you could always food process or use a handheld blender. Sometimes I like really creamy mashed potatoes–but there is a time and place for that kind and it wasn’t here. With red skins, I leave the skin on, so I like them to be a little bit chunkier for lack of a better word. Mmmmm chunky. Sounds delicious. Anyways, once they are mashed to your satisfaction, you can add more salt if you need it, pepper and the herbs. You should be able to do all of this within the time that your chicken is baking.
I thought about roasting the potatoes and then mashing them–I bet that would taste great too.
While this dinner isn’t exactly a 15 or 30 minute dinner due to a long cooking time, the active time is quite short and the leftovers make it better convenience wise. I can see why Ina makes this dish for Jeffrey and I’m glad I finally made it too. It was definitely a tasty enough dish that I would feel good about serving it for a dinner. Now I just have to work on my bird cutting skills–I kind of made a mess of that.
Can’t believe it’s so late! Things to do, people to see…enjoy the rest of your weekend!