Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Great Chicken Roasting Redux

After my disastrous attempt at roasting a chicken a few weeks ago, I thought I'd try again with a few changes. Like not setting off the smoke alarm. Who's with me?
So I started differently from the beginning. Rather than purchasing the cheapest chicken in the store, I found a very nice Foster Farms chicken for $7. Coming in at 5.7 pounds, that's just over a dollar per pound (versus the $4.50 to $5.75 I'd normally pay for chicken parts in styrofoam flat packages). The "Simply Raised" chicken was antibiotic, hormone, and steroid-free and humanely raised right here in the Pacific Northwest. I figure that's like one step from me butchering the neighbor's chickens that range the neighborhood eating who knows what and pooping all over my sidewalk (although the thought has crossed my mind: why did the chicken cross the road? to become dinner at my house).

Once I got the neighbor's bird home, I rinsed it well and patted it dry. I stuck it on the very same roasting laurel in a pyrex pan. Seasonings were applied liberally, and I may have spent a little more time than necessary massaging them into the chicken. I also added a cup of water to the bottom of the pan to prevent the drippings from smoking. Rather than trying to blast this chicken in a 500° oven, I opted for less smoking and more gentle roasting at 425°. I kept a close eye on the water in the bottom to make sure it didn't disappear, and I took temperature readings until the deep-inside breast meat was well over 165°. My leg meat was holding at almost 200°, so I was pretty sure I had dried this chicken into oblivion within the 90-minute cooking time. The skin, despite zero butter or oil being used on it, was perfectly crisp and crackly.

I pulled the chicken out of the oven to cool for a few minutes. Just as I started to carve it, The Man got home. He didn't have to wait two hours for dinner this time!

As I began cutting into the chicken, juices were flowing everywhere. This thing was moist. We're talking almost scary wet inside. The legs were very juicy too! I pulled the leg-thigh sections off, got the wings off, and then gently excised both breasts. A plastic surgeon would have been impressed with my knife skills (okay, maybe not the hacking part up by the wishbone...). I placed all of these parts into another pyrex pan, added a few tablespoons of the drippings, covered it all in foil, and put it back in the oven to keep warm while I burned some cornbread.

The skin didn't stay crispy, but since we don't eat chicken skin (gasp! horror! also, eew, get over it), it didn't matter at all to us. The Man and I each cut into our choice pieces--breast for him, thigh for me--and savored that thing in a borderline unholy way. It was incredible. So flavorful, so tender, so juicy... all the good words a chicken can be.

Once we'd stuffed ourselves, I put some into The Man's lunch for the next day, stripped the meat off the bones for soup, and used the carcass to make my own stock for the very first time. The stock is so delicious too!

Also, at no point did the smoke alarm go off while I was cooking. The cornbread was inedible on the bottom, but the alarms did not go off. I call dinner a success.

1 comment:

cm0978 said...

Drooling -- there is nothing like roasting your own whole chicken. Congratulations!