Monday, September 3, 2012

My first roasted chicken and veggies

Whole Roasted Chicken has always been a staple of many households and everyone has told me it's an easy go to for a wonderful home cooked meal. So this has been in the back of my mind for a while. Then I just did it. I bought my first whole chicken at the store the other day. I saw it and thought I would try it on this holiday weekend when I have a little more time than normal. It turned out delicious and beautiful. Not something I thought would happen on my first try.

I researched a few different recipes on Martha Stewart's website - Everyday food - one of my go to places for recipes and tips. I found a few 'roasted chicken 101' type recipes and videos which I have linked to below. One thing is for sure, there are a thousand ways to roast a chicken!

I decided to take the simple version of roasted chicken with herbs and vegetables and add a few other pieces from the other recipes I found that I liked and I came up with this beautiful combination that I will use again and again I am sure of it.
Recipe Inspirations:
Lemon herb roasted chicken
Roasted Chicken 101
Roasted Chicken Recipe collection
Roasted Chicken and Veggies

I learned a lot from the roasted chicken 101 slideshow and from the video of lemon herb roasted chicken. I combined the Roasted Chicken and Veggies recipe with the Lemon and garlic idea from the video and that is what I made.

First I gathered and chopped my veggies and other ingredients and set them all together. This is one thing I try to do with any recipe so it makes it easier to pull everything together when its needed. I did all this before pulling out the chicken. I tossed the cut carrots, celery, onion, and potatoes with olive oil and salt and pepper and left them in the bowl. Then I got out some fresh cracked pepper and salt in separate dishes so when I put it on the chicken it would not contaminate all the other salt and pepper. I also brought out my butter, lemon, and herbs.

I then got the chicken out and let it rest for 30 minutes at room temperature after rinsing it off and patting it dry. I had a 3.5 pound fryer chicken which was just enough meat for 4 people. The neck and other parts were already taken out of this natural chicken. I would recommend this if you can get one you don't have to pull these parts out of. I also referred to it as the 'pretty chicken' though throughout this process.

I then proceeded to stuff the inside of the chicken with the cut lemon (after squeezing juice), all my herbs (thyme, parsley, and a sprig of rosemary), salt and pepper. I then smashed a few garlic cloves and rubbed them all over the top of the skin and put them in the cavity with the herbs. I also put some of the leftover herbs and garlic in between the skin and the meat (another one of the tips). I then rubbed a couple tablespoons of butter all over the bird and in between the skin and put salt and pepper all over and under the chicken. This is not something I would recommend doing with a cut on your finger. It hurts. Trust me. Gloves next time for me!

The next step was to tie the feet together so the yummy stuffing of herbs and lemon would not spill out into the pan. This was a tricky step for me for some reason. My hands were all buttery and the legs kept slipping out. I finally got it tied down and set it breast side up in my roasting pan on top of my other veggies already hanging out. I tucked the wings under (not very well) and there you have it!

I added the wine and let the oven heat up to 450 and set it in for about an hour until the thermometer read 165 degrees in the thick part of the meat. When it was done it was beautiful. I took it off of the veggies and put it on the plate so I could carve it.

Pretty Bird...

While the chicken was cooking I made another side dish I saw on the website - Cherry Tomato Crisp. It was equally delicious and it paired really well with the chicken and veggies. I got all the ingredients together again to make it easier to pull together. I also used old white buns from the freezer (thawed) instead of fresh bread because old stale bread is the perfect thing to use when making crumbs of any kind.

Then I pulsed the bread, garlic, Parmesan, parsley, olive oil, and salt and pepper in a food processor until crumbly. I had more than I thought but it was still delicious!

Then I took an 8x8 glass pan and put the tomatoes on the bottom (I could have used more tomatoes) and covered it in the crumb mixture then put a few tomatoes on top for decoration. I then stuck this in the oven towards the end of when the chicken was done.

The tomatoes cooked a little faster than they should have because I put them at 450 for 10-15 with the chicken instead of 400 for 20-25 so they didn't have enough time to really break open and roast like they should have. The crumb got brown faster but it still tasted delicious. I would keep them at 400 next time and just do it once the chicken is done and resting. 

Overall this was a great experiment and I will definitely do this again. This got me a 4 star (out of 5) rating from the husband and a couple high fives across the table. Totally worth it! We scooped some of the roasted veggies on the plate with the chicken and tomato mixture. I drank a Sauvignon Blanc (the same one I used in the pan) and it was a great pairing.

Have you ever roasted a chicken? What are your favorite ingredients to use for your roasting?