As previously reported, I roasted my first whole chicken last week. Don't ask me how I've gone this long without performing this task. Don't ask me how I've gone through this culinary birthing I've been experiencing for the last few years without roasting a chicken. I've just never done it. I've roasted pieces of chicken, plenty of times. But never have I ever roasted a whole chicken. Until now, of course...
Here's what I have to say. First of all, this is (or should I say WAS) a daunting task to me, for some reason. Maybe it's because I have visions of past chicken dinners with various people cooking where the chicken did not turn out...um, cooked? And while it always seems easy enough on television, I've watched my mother curse at our GIGANTIC Thanksgiving turkey every single year. Oh yeah, and until we got married, I didn't have a large enough roasting pan. (That's a good one, right?) Anyway, I decided it was time.
My reason for making this decision were two-fold. First of all, when I asked friends what they were looking for a in a new food blog, so many people said to talk about things that are intimidating. Now while I realize most of you have probably done this, like I said--it was super intimidating for me. Secondly, I REALLY have a desire to make some chicken stock this week, and though I can easily make it from a rotisserie bird, what kind of adventurous food blogging chick would I be? So, there you have it.
This is after about 25 minutes of cooking time
I'm going to tell you, this was so much easier than my nightmares led me to believe all these many years. I'm also going to tell you that my first roasted bird turned out pretty darned good. The meat was juicy, and it was super flavorful. I decided against going nice and simple with the flavorings. I figured that at the very least, if the chicken was super over-cooked and nasty, at least it would be well flavored enough to chop up and saute into tacos ASAP. So I made it spicy and citrusy and freaking fabulous tasting. It was really good! I plan on roasting other chickens in the near future. It's SO MUCH CHEAPER than buying parts, and just as healthy given that I gave the skin off of my chicken breast to J to add to his. (So sneaky!) And, for me, in the boondocks, it is so much easier to find a vegetable-fed well treated chicken if I buy it whole, rather than in boneless skinless parts. I will modify as I continue in my task, and I'll post tips for you guys as I figure them out. (My trussing was less than stellar--didn't affect the bird, just my ego.)
J and I didn't have any wine with this, but I would definitely serve this with either a great brown ale (like Dogfish Head Indian Brown) or a slightly oaked Chardonnay or Cabernet. Something with enough oak to balance out the heat from the meat, but enough to round out the meal just perfectly. I really like Avalon California Cabernet--you can't beat the price and it's available everywhere.
Did I mention the house smelled ridiculous and I felt like an absolute and total rockstar? It was a definite brush with fame for me in my own head that day. Donning my "Food is Fashion" apron (an old PR swag item) I felt like a kitchen star. And that made that dinner all the more better.
Oh, and the GRAVY...
CITRUSY SPICY ROAST CHICKEN
Small (2-3 lb) roasting chicken
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chipotle chili powder*
2 tbsp pasillo chili powder*
1 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp black pepper
2 tbsp salt
2 oranges, zested and sliced in quarters
1 lemon, zested and sliced in quarters
8 garlic cloves, peeled
12 oz beer (mexican lager, preferably)
1 C chicken stock
*Use whatever spicy stuff you have. I happen to own a pantry full of crazy chili pepper/powders. You could totally sub regular chili powder, cayenne, paprika.
1/2 C Molasses
2 TBSP agave/honey
Zest and juice of 1/2 orange
salt and pepper (as necessary)
1 C chicken stock
Preheat oven to 400.
Wash and thoroughly dry chicken, inside and out.
Mix together spices and black pepper, set aside.
Zest citrus and set aside.
Drizzle oil all over chicken, and under the skin on the breast--use hands to get under the skin gently.
Rub juice of 1 full (quartered) orange and half (quartered) lemon and half of the zest all over chicken.
Massage spices all over chicken, rubbing all over and in cavity and under breast skin.
Stuff 4 garlic cloves and juiced orange and lemon into cavity.
Truss chicken (which I sucked at) by tying legs together to keep cavity "locked and loaded" and tuck wing tips under the bird.
Pour full beer in bottom of roasting pan, under rack. Juice remaining citrus and throw juiced pieces and remaining garlic cloves in bottom of pan.
Place chicken on rack in roasting pan (I have a pan w/ rack, could use baking sheet)
Place pan in middle of oven, breast side up.
Cook until internal temp is 170 and juices run clear from thigh joint. (Took my oven about 90 min.)
Check moisture in pan occasionally (I checked every 25 minutes or so) and add chicken stock as needed to keep moisture in the pan.
Remove chicken from pan, set on cutting board, cover with aluminum foil and allow to rest at least 15 minutes before carving.
Take remaining liquids and solids in roasting pan, removing the fruit pieces and garlic.
Pour into small saucepan (or do it in existing roasting pan) and place over medium high heat.
Add remaining gravy ingredients and stir vigorously. You'll need to check seasonings several times.
Bring to a boil and allow to reduce at least by half. You want a thick sauce, not anything too watery.
Test seasonings again--add more honey if it's too salty, spicy--add more heat if you need.
Drizzle gravy over sliced chicken.