Our foodie weekend continued last night, this time with an Italian theme. Angie wanted to learn how to roast a whole chicken, and I am always happy to have an excuse to make my new favorite roast chicken recipe. So after a couple of hours in the sun and some yummy planter's punch, we headed back into the kitchen to cook!
We also decided to make Pioneer Woman's perfect risotto, which is another of my new favorites. I have always loved risotto, but having someone give me the excuse to put heavy cream in it totally transforms the dish I thought I knew how to make :-) After all, the recipe calls for it - we've got to follow the rules, LOL!
So as promised, we photographed the chicken recipe to share with you. But I will only show you these pics if you promise not to laugh at how pale I am. I know, I know. I need a tan!!
Anyway, I think a lot of people are intimidated by roasting a whole chicken, but it really is very simple. And almost nothing smells better when cooking. So don't be afraid to try. I promise, you'll love it!
My new favorite way to roast chicken is with some citrus fruit and garlic. You could use oranges, grapefruit or, as in this recipe, lemon. I also make a pan gravy to go with it, since it makes delicious pan juices. I'll show the details as we go, but meanwhile, let's gather the ingredients we'll need. Don't worry too much about exact quantities right now; I'll give you the details before we're done:
You'll need a whole chicken (about 4 pounds), a whole head of garlic, plus about 2 cloves, 1 lemon, some olive oil, 3 Tbsp butter (cut into six pats), dried rosemary, paprika, kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, a couple cups of chicken broth, a splash of white wine, some flour, and some kitchen string (get this at the grocery store), and the confidence to know you can do this. I promise!
Okay, the first step is the hardest for some people. You're going to (brace yourself!) have to handle a raw chicken. I know, I know... but take a deep breath and trust me on this... it's a little icky, but it's completely worth it! After a couple tries, you won't even bat an eyelash. And if you've ever handled a Thanksgiving turkey, this will be a walk in the park!
Go ahead and remove the giblets and other unmentionable parts from the cavity of the chicken. If you're going to make gravy (or make chicken stock later), don't throw them away. Take 'em out of the little bag they come in, put in a small saucepan and cover with water (or freeze for later use in stock). Cover loosely and simmer while your chicken is cooking. I promise, the gravy will be out of this world!
Now, rinse the chicken thoroughly:
And pat dry. You want to dry the chicken pretty well, so the marinade won't slide right off.
Then you'll make a quick marinade. I happen to have a magic bullet, which is perfect for making this kind of thing. So I will give directions as though you're going to blend the marinade. But if you don't happen to have one of these small miracles, you could just dice everything very finely, or use an immersion or regular blender.
Take a whole head of garlic and cut it roughly in half. You can remove any loose papery skin, but there's no need to peel. Reserve the halves, which will go into the chicken cavity.
Now peel two cloves of garlic, chop roughly and toss in blender with 1 tsp. kosher salt. It'll look something like this:
Cut a lemon in half,
Juice one lemon and reserve the halves. They'll also go into the chicken cavity.
Add the lemon juice to the garlic paste. Now add 1 tsp. paprika:
And add 1 tsp. rosemary to the mix:
Add in freshly ground pepper to taste, and blend in a little more olive oil than you have lemon juice. The finished product will look something like this:
Now you're going to put the marinade mixture under the chicken skin, where it will keep the meat moist as it roasts (and give it great flavor). But first you want to gently loosen the chicken skin from the meat. Now don't panic; it's a little gross, but you can do it!! So just use your fingers to do this and try not to tear the skin. You're just creating a place for the marinade to hang out.
Then pour a little of the marinade under the skin, all around the chicken.
Save a little for the outside of the chicken when you're done.
Now, take your six pats of butter, and stuff them under the skin with the marinade.
Don't be afraid. Most of the calories will evaporate while it cooks. Or something like that ;-) And I promise the flavor will be totally worth it.
Seriously. Trust me on this!
Pour the remaining marinade mixture over the top, and gently rub into the chicken. Don't be afraid! The yucky part is almost over!
Go ahead and preheat your oven to 350. I don't do this too early, because I don't like to rush through cooking and an empty oven just wastes energy. And who's got extra money for that these days? ;-)
Now, stuff the lemon halves and garlic halves into the cavity of the chicken.
And here's the fun part: take some kitchen string, which you can find at the grocery store. [I buy the unbleached kind, because I'm silly like that. I buy unbleached string and unbleached flour because it's better than bleached, right? Then I eat something like cheetos, which are loaded with yellow dye #5... I figure it all balances out... You have to pick your battles...]
Now, make a slip knot in the string, and hold onto your hats: It's high noon, and we're going to hang us a chicken!
[Just kidding. I have a sick sense of humor!]
Nah, actually we're just going to tie the legs together, so the lemon and garlic stays inside the cavity and flavors the meat well. So just slip the knot over the chicken legs,
Pull it tight, and
Tie it off. And there you go!
And now, we're all ready for the chicken to go in the oven! Wash your hands, and breathe a sigh of relief. The yucky part is over and your kitchen is going to smell divine for the next two hours!
Pop the chicken into the oven (uncovered). You'll want to baste it every 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on the pan drippings too, and make sure they aren't burning. If they start to evaporate or burn, you can add a little chicken broth mixed with water to thin them. It will need to cook between 1.5-2 hours or so. It's done when it's golden brown and the meat starts to pull away from the bones slightly. Make sure the juices from the cavity also run clear. Remove the chicken to a plate, and cover loosely while you make gravy (or finish the remainder of your dinner prep.)
If you want to make gravy, pour the broth (from the giblets, but strain it first) into your roasting pan (or use a saucepan, if your roaster can't go stovetop). Bring to a boil and add a splash of white wine, stirring and scraping to deglaze the pan. That's where all those yummy brown bits get into the sauce and add flavor! Now take a little of the sauce out of the pan and whisk it together with about 2 Tbsp flour. Get all the lumps out, and then whisk it back into the pan juices. Continue to simmer the gravy a few minutes until thickened, seasoning to taste. If you like, you can carve your yummy roast chicken while you wait for the gravy! And now you know how to make a GREAT roasted chicken recipe!
Lots of things go great with roasted chicken, but for this meal, we also made risotto. Oh, yummmmmmmmmm...risotto. (No really, that's what you'll call it). Pioneer Woman's recipe rocks (like all her recipes)! I'll post it as a separate recipe soon!
In the meantime, enjoy some roast chicken. And don't be afraid to try it!
Citrus and Garlic Roast Chicken
2 cloves garlic, plus 1 whole bulb cut in half
1 lemon, halved and juiced, halves reserved
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (or equal parts to lemon juice)
1 (4 lb) whole chicken
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pats
You can prepare the chicken up to the point of baking, and let marinate a couple of hours ahead in fridge if desired. Bring to room temp for half an hour if so before baking.
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