Thursday, March 5, 2009

Whole Roasted Chicken

First of all, you need to find a cage-free, free-range, antibiotic-free, good wholesome chicken, preferably from a local farmer. Go to your local farmer's market and, if there isn't already a vendor there that sells whole chickens, ask around. Chances are most everyone there, vendors and shoppers alike, know of a good local source. If you're lucky, you'll find a local organic farmer who raises their own chickens!

Roasting a whole chicken is by far the simplest way to get a good - no, great - meal with very little effort. Plus, a whole chicken can be spread out to cover more than just one meal. I've made a whole chicken stretch to 5 meals, plus chicken stock! Now, that's using your food money wisely!

What You'll Need
  • meat thermometer
  • big bowl
  • roasting pan
  • whole chicken
  • olive oil
  • honey
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3-5 cloves garlic
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 3 potatoes
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • good salt
  • pepper
  • red pepper flakes (remember, heat = health!)
How To
  1. Preheat oven to 375*F
  2. In a big bowl, soak your chicken in a warm water bath with a good pinch of salt - let sit for 30 minutes
  3. drain and place chicken in a roasting pan
  4. chop onions, garlic, carrots, celery, potatoes and place around chicken in roasting pan
  5. drizzle olive oil over chicken and veggies
  6. sprinkle salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes over everything (toss the veggies to coat)
  7. drizzle honey over chicken
  8. sprinkle herbs over everything
  9. add about a cup of water into the bottom of the pan
  10. Pop into oven, bottom shelf, until Meat Thermometer reads 180*F. Usually about 1 - 1.5 hours.
  11. Take out of oven and let stand for 10 minutes.
Serving & Saving
For dinner that night, serve the legs, wings, thighs. Save the breasts for two separate meals (1/2 for chicken pot pie, 1/2 for something else like chicken quesadillas or a topping to pizza). Or just dig in and then save what's leftover for chicken stock and chicken soup.

I save all the bones in a zip-lock bag in the freezer labeled "BONES". When I have a full bag, I will use those bones, along with some veggie scraps, to make chicken stock (aka: consomme). This is so much better tasting and better FOR you than what you get at the store. Plus, it's basically free since you have everything. Just boil for a couple hours in water, cool, strain, and store. Keeps in the freezer for months, in the fridge for a week.