Sunday, November 7, 2010

Herb Roasted Chicken

It's been a cold & rainy day today, and it's Sunday, so from the moment I looked out the window this morning I had a craving for roast chicken.  It's the perfect thing to make for Sunday dinner, goes great with Pinot Noir, my favorite wine, and on a crappy weather day like today it's a great excuse to get the oven going & warm up my normally chilly kitchen.

Whole chickens have been on sale at Safeway too, last week they were $.49/lb, pretty hard to beat.  This week they were $1.29/lb, still pretty darn good.  I got a 6 lb chicken for a little under $8.  I usually manage to get 3 different dinners out of 1 chicken, plus about a gallon of chicken stock.  All in all, it's the cheapest way to feed my husband and I for almost a week.

Tonight is a 2'fer, since after I roasted the chicken I made a giant pot of chicken stock.  I love making my own stock, and it's another money saver.  I can usually get around 20 cups of stock out of one chicken, and if you've purchased chicken stock at the grocery store lately, the equivalent would cost you at least $20.  I divide the stock up into 4 cup containers and freeze it.  That way I always have fresh homemade stock on hand for soups, risotto, polenta, whatever I may need it for.  It's easy to make a roast chicken, and stock, however it is time consuming.  It's not something you can whip up after work on a weekday, but, on a rainy Sunday, it's so worth the time and effort.

Herb Roasted Chicken
1 fresh whole roasting chicken, neck & giblets removed and saved for stock
Olive Oil
Bunch of fresh sage
Bunch of fresh thyme
6 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
1 lemon, quartered,
1 celery stalk, cut into 3 pieces
1 small onion, quartered
Salt & Pepper

  1. Prepare the Herb Spread & Aromatics.  In a small food processor blend together about 10 sage leaves,  the leaves from about 6 sprigs of thyme and 2 cloves of garlic.  Transfer the herb blend to a small bowl and stir in about 1/4 cup olive oil, season with salt & pepper.  This mixture will be spread on the outside of the chicken.  In another bowl, toss the quartered lemon, the quartered onion, the celery, 4 cloves of garlic and the rest of the sage & thyme with some olive oil, salt & pepper.  This mixture will be stuffed inside the chicken.
  2. Prepare the Chicken.  Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees F and position a rack in the bottom 3rd of the oven.  Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Fill the main cavity with the seasoned aromatics and close up the chicken using a lacer.  Place the chicken breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan, tuck the wing tips under the breast and tie the legs together.  Season the chicken with salt & pepper.  Spread the entire chicken with the herb spread.  You can put about a teaspoonful of the spread under the skin over the breast meat as well.  Finish off the chicken with a sprinkling of paprika.
  3. Roast the Chicken.  Put the chicken into the 425 F oven and roast for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes, turn the heat down to 350 F and continue to roast the chicken until done, about another hour.  A thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the thigh should read 170 F when the chicken is done.
  4. Let the Chicken Rest.  Remove the chicken from the oven, tent with foil and let it rest for at least 10 to 15 minutes.  The internal temperature should continue to rise to 180 F while the chicken is resting, and the juices should be absorbed back into the chicken.
  5. Serve!  Once the chicken has completed its resting, carve the chicken and serve immediately.  Some roasted potatoes and green beans go great on the side. And to drink, nothing goes better than a delicious Pinot Noir.
Herb spread
Aromatics ready to be stuffed

All tied up and ready for the oven

Resting comfortably and ready to be served!

After dinner, be sure to carve all the chicken off the bone and save the carcass and bones to make stock.  Here's my recipe for that

Chicken Stock
Leftover chicken carcass/bones from roasted chicken, aromatics & skin removed from carcass
Neck & Giblets from chicken
1 small onion quartered
4 cloves of garlic, peeled & smashed
2 stalks of celery, leaves attached, cut into 2 pieces
1 parsnip, cut into 3 or 4 pieces (or 1 carrot)
fresh sage
fresh thyme
2 tsp salt

  1. Fill up the Stock Pot.  In the largest stock pot you can find, put all the above ingredients into the pot and then fill the pot up to about 1 1/2" from the top with water.  Be sure to remove as much skin from the carcass as possible to cut down on the fat in the finished stock.  We can't stand the flavor of cooked carrots in our house, so instead of using the standard carrot for the stock, I use a parsnip.  Feel free to go the traditional route if you are a fan of the cooked carrot.
  2. Bring to Boil & then Simmer.  Bring the stock to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, cover and then let stock simmer covered for a few hours.
  3. Strain Stock and store.  Once the stock has simmered away for 3 or 4 hours, remove from heat and scoop out the large pieces of bone, celery, onion, etc.  Be careful, they will stay very hot for a very long time. Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer so that you are left with nothing but clear broth.  Divide finished stock into small 2 or 4 cup containers and store in fridge (if you plan to use within the week) or in the freezer.  You should end up with between 16 & 20 cups of stock.
Stock, simmering away after dinner

Bon Appetit!

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