Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Striving for the Perfect Roast Chicken

Back earlier in the year, I found a sale on whole chickens.  I had never bought a whole chicken before except the already cooked kinds at Costco and grocery stores :)  I am sure that everyone has gotten one of those.  I figured that we used to spend $5 on those, although the prices on those are also soaring, so in order to buy one without it being cooked, that it would have to be less than that!!!  I started to think that if I bought it and never made it then it would be a huge waste of money.  Until I remembered one book I read saying that she bought whatever cut of meat that was on clearance and came home and figured out how to make it for her family.  It was normally $1.29 per pound, on sale for $0.77 per pound so it made the chicken $3.57.  After thinking about it, I might be able to make that chicken into two meals so into the cart it went :)  I might have gotten a few more on a few more trips after this realization!! (Sorry to repeat the story if you already heard it since I posted this when I made one of my other chickens).

I have been working on finding a recipe on how to make a nice crispy whole roasted chicken.  I have made the brick chicken, crock pot chicken, fried chicken and oven roasted chicken.  The brick chicken takes the most work and tasted the best but was too much to do and too many steps with a little one underfoot.  The crock pot chicken is hard to time and my husband says that it is dried out by the time he is ready to eat it.  The fried chicken is super yummy but not the healthiest.  So I was in search of different recipes for oven roasted chicken and found one in the Urban Pantry book by Amy Pennington.  I decided that this method would be good for the next time that I made chicken, even if it wasn't 100% the recipe that I was going to follow.  I got out all of the ingredients and I was ready to go. 

I took the chicken out of the package and removed the inside pieces (neck, liver, etc).  Then I dried it with two paper towels.  I poured a ton of salt all over both sides and then ground the pepper. 

I let it sit and then I decided that I wanted to spice it up.  I pulled out the Weber seasoning that I had gotten for free.  It was called Kickin' chicken so I figured that it would be a little spicy since I was planning on using the leftovers for chicken tacos later in the week. 

I added the seasoning on the top and let it sit while the oven heated up for about 30 minutes, as suggested in the recipe.

The oven was preheated and I put the seasoned chicken in.  I was a little stressed out because previously the recipes have called for olive oil and butter but this didn't have anything like that on it.  I checked after 15 minutes and it still looked good.... prepared with olive oil or lemon to cool down a burning chicken but it wasn't needed.  I went in after another 15 minutes and decided instead of adding more oil that I would baste with the grease in the pan and a brush.  I moved the oven rack down one notch when I switched the temperature to 375 degrees but that was because I think that mine was too high.  Then, I checked after another 15 minutes and I decided to squeeze half a lemon on the top and I shoved the lemon in the chicken cavity so that it would get moisture from the inside.  It was done and I took it out and let it sit for 15 minutes.

Then I made a dipping sauce from a previous recipe because my husband really enjoyed it last time and in case the chicken didn't have enough flavor.

I was focused on making the chicken that I sort of forgot about the other things to go with our meal so I made a couscous to eat on the side which is really simple and quick with chicken broth and butter.

Then we had dinner!  It was super yummy and flavorful.  I think that I would do this again and we probably didn't even need the dipping sauce.  There were some leftovers to make chicken tacos later this week but remember that only two of us ate the chicken so for a family of 4 this will probably only make one meal.

I hope that you enjoy the modified recipe below and try it for your family.  Now I am super sad that was my last whole chicken!! 

Perfect Roast Chicken
Adapted from recipe by Amy Pennington from Urban Pantry Cookbook

1 whole chicken, 4 to 5 pounds
Fresh ground black pepper
Seasonings (like Weber or Mrs. Dash pre-mixed or make your own)
Lemon, Olive Oil, Thyme, Garlic
Open package from whole chicken and remove all extra pieces inside.  Dry chicken with paper towels inside and out.  Fit in baking pan.  Salt the bird on all sides and in between the joints, where the wings and legs lie.  Use enough salt to cover the entire chicken.  Grind the fresh pepper over all sides of the chicken.  Add salt free seasoning to chicken.  If you have the time, set the chicken aside for 20 to 30 minutes before baking while oven is preheating to 475 degrees.

Bake for 30 minutes.  After that (without opening the oven) reduce the temperature to 375 degrees and cook for another 45 minutes.  During the cooking, baste and add lemon juice while cooking as needed (make sure to put the lemon in the chicken cavity so not wasted).  Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes before carving and serving. 

While chicken is resting, mix lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and thyme for a dipping sauce.

(Start the process 2 hours before dinnner time to leave enough time for dinner)

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