Set it and forget it!
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Have you ever really looked at a whole, raw chicken? You can so easily imagine it scurrying around the farmyard. If you look closely at the skin, you can even see where the feathers have been plucked out (some even have feather remnants! Eeep!) It's always felt a bit too real. A few months ago, I read about how much money you could save cooking a whole chicken once a week vs buying the different parts for individual meals. The information made sense, but when I looked at the whole chickens in their shrink wrapped, air-chilled packages I felt intimidated. Roasting chickens is for REAL cooks and I'm just getting the hang of this. Then, yesterday evening, I decided the time had come to conquer chicken roasting!
So I marched up to to the poultry section and snagged a plump 4-pound roaster. After tossing him into the fridge, I spent the next three hours researching different methods - Roasting pan, dutch over, stove top, deep frying, etc. Eventually, I decided on "French Chicken in a Pot" from Cooks Illustrated. It seemed like the simplest one - rinse chicken, season, brown, toss in some aromatics, cover, and bake.
After scrubbing my hands, it was time to start! I opened the package and discovered a little surprise stuffed in the cavity. Since I had no idea what this was, I called my favorite food hotline - 1-800-MOM-I-NEED-HELP. When mom told me it was the chicken's organs, I couldn't drop it in the trash fast enough. When she mentioned she uses these "giblets" in her famous gravy I nearly had a heart attack. Guess what I won't be eating next holiday dinner!
At any rate, after scouring everything that touched the giblets, I returned to my chicken prep. I rubbed seasoning all over the bird, only to learn you should butter else it has nothing to stick to. (note to self: do not butter AFTER seasoning. buttered seasoning under your nails is not cute.) (2nd note to self: buttered birds are slippery and will definitely fall in the sink) After this rocky start, I finally browned it, tossed on the timer, then proceeded to forget about it.
Within 20 minutes my apartment filled with the delicious smells of roasting chicken! Now I don't eat much meat these days, but I realized if my apt smelled like this all the time I'd be in hog heaven (or maybe I'd just resemble a hog. lol). The only thing about this method is that you can't watch the progress. No point in peeking in the oven, all you see is a giant pot. *womp womp*
Another hour passed and I practically skipped to the oven for the big reveal. And oooh, mama!!! Tongs in hand, I grabbed the drumsticks to transfer it bird to the cutting board. Let me tell you, that bird was so moist and tender, that the drumsticks pulled right off! Yum-to-the-O!! Once transferred, I covered it with some foil and let it rest (longest 20 minutes EVER!) Then, fork and carving knife in hand, I set to carving up all this deliciousness.
Seriously, fellow sparkers, I can't believe I never did this earlier. Now, I have delicious roast chicken for salads, sandwiches, pastas, etc. Plus, I love that its so healthy and affordable. As I focus on eating more whole foods, I love that I control exactly what goes into this. There are crazy fats or weird things I cannot pronounce. Just chicken, a few pats of butter, and seasonings!
I highly recommend you guys try it out if you haven't. For a mere $5-$8, you'll have more than enough meat for a week's worth of meals. So awesome sauce!!!