How to roast a chicken.

 


How to Roast a Chicken

I distinctly remember the first time that I roasted a chicken.  I was probably 8 or 9 and my mom had left a whole chicken in the fridge for my babysitter Sarah and I to make for dinner.  We both knew that it takes a while for the chicken to roast, so around 6 pm we took it out of the fridge and  set in on the counter.   Reading the instructions on the little white sticker on the top  the  first thing that we had to do was remove the giblets.  After  Sarah explained to me what exactly giblets were apparently 8 year-old me completely refused to even come close to the chicken now that I knew there was still all of those PARTS in there!   Sarah rolled up her sleeves and after several attempts  of trying to get that little bag out of the cavity we were unsuccessful. I’m not sure how long we debated over it  and did one of those “it’s so gross, get it away from me” dances, I’m pretty sure Sarah’s mom came over to remove the giblets for us.   After that debacle, it took me a while to touch a raw chicken without being grossed out.

One of the great things about cooking a whole chicken instead of buying pre-cut and de-boned  pieces is that it is cheaper.  If you have to feed  more than 3 people, buying a whole chicken is  a few dollars cheaper than  buying it  separated.   In my case, Jon and I eat what we want that night and then use the leftover meat for sandwiches and such.  Also, you  can have both white and dark meat.

Although yes you are going to have to remove the giblets, I have used this recipe several times and the results are a juicy chicken with crispy and flavorful skin.  It is easy and you can make it without a hassle or preparation time in the kitchen.

Here is what you will need: 

1 whole chicken
Salt and Pepper
Thyme
2 cloves of fresh Garlic or 2 tablespoons of minced.
1 Lemon
1/2  Sweet Onion
2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter softened
cooking twine

 

Pre-heat your oven to  425 degrees F.   Unwrap your chicken, remove innards, rinse it with cool water and  pat dry the skin with  a paper towel.  (This helps to remove any juices from the package and makes the skin flavorful.)   Make sure to remove any extra fat from the inside of the cavity.

 

Rub the cavity with salt and pepper and garlic.  Put the springs of thyme inside the cavity.  I prefer to use fresh thyme, but this time I didn’t have any so I used dried herbs. Take the lemon and roll in on the counter for 10 seconds pushing down on the center with your hand.  This will help release the juices in the lemon and give you more flavor.  Slice half way through the lemon so that juices can get out  but not all the way through so that you have two pieces.  Stick the lemon  into the cavity and then tie the legs together. This will help to keep everything inside the cavity and make sure that the drumsticks do not fall off while it is roasting.  I didn’t have any twine yesterday so I used a skewer to keep it shut.  Not as effective, but I wasn’t going to go to the store for twine.

Rub the outside of the chicken with the softened butter and then sprinkle liberally with  salt and pepper. Set the chicken aside.

 

Slice the onion and put them in the bottom of the roasting pan.  If you are like me and do not have a roasting pan, I use my large glass pan and it works just fine.   Once you have spread the onions on the bottom of the pan put the chicken on top of the onions.

Roast the chicken for about 1 1/2  hours.  To make sure that  it’s finished  pierce the breast and thigh meat with a probe thermometer.  The meat has to be over 165 degrees to be finished, so around 170 is safer. Make sure that you are not touching the bone when taking the temperature.  This will give you a higher reading that what it actually is.

Take the chicken out of the oven  and transfer it to a cutting board with indents around the edge to catch any juices.  It is important that you let the chicken sit for 10-15 mins.  This gives it a chance to absorb some of the juices and makes it even tastier.

Congrats on roasting a whole chicken!  I told you it wouldn’t be that hard!

If you have any questions please let me know.

 

Enjoy,

Chicken Saltimbocca with a Sage Cream Sauce


Chicken Saltimbocca with a Sage Cream Sauce


One of my favorite recipes when I am have a few hours on my hands and the need for something rich and very tasty I turn to this recipe.  I learned this method from when I worked at Stonewood Grill in highschool.  The chefs there had a great recipe for veal saltimbocca.  Although I did try the veal and it was pretty good, ( you have to try everything once ) I couldn’t get used to the idea of eating it with a regularity so I modified  the recipe to use chicken instead. I found I enjoyed the chicken even more than the veal and without the guilt of eating a baby calf.

The word saltimbocca  translates in Italian to jumps in the mouth and that is exactly what it does.  This rich dish is sure to be a crowd pleaser.  Traditionally the meat and sage are wrapped around each other but I like to add the sauce to bring the meat and rice together.

Here is what you need for a meal for four.

2 chicken breasts

6-8 slices of prosciutto

1/2 cup of fresh sage (chiffonade)

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

Pinch of Salt

Pinch of Pepper

 Oil for frying  ( I used olive oil but you can use vegetable or grape seed oil )

Mozzarella

Rice Pilaf

Pint of Heavy Cream

 

Now that you have everything together,  I always find in the best to make this one in stages.  The first few times I made it I wanted to save time and get it ready as fast as possible but I found that if I was frying the chicken, making the rice and thickening the cream at the same time, the total result suffered.  Usually the sauce burned or clumped. So I found it better just to take my time and keep the sauce for last.

Phase one:  Chicken and Prosciutto

Take the chicken breast and after giving them a rinse and a pat down with a paper towel so that they are dry. (more about this later)  Cut them with an inch thickness  horizontally across the breast.  You should be able to get 4 or 5 cut out of each breast.

                                                      (Before)

(After)

Now it is time to pound out the chicken so it is nice and thin.  This part is great for anyone with a temper because it takes a few minutes of heavy pounding to get all of the cuts to approximately 1/4 inch in height.  Try to get each slice as even across the piece as possible.  If they are uneven, there will be spots where it didn’t cook enough or spots that get too crispy.

Make sure to use Saran wrap when you are tenderizing the chicken. It is not exactly necessary, but it keeps any bacteria from being spread around the kitchen when you are hitting it.

Mix the flour with salt and pepper. Take the chicken and dredge it through the mixture. I found that when the chicken is drier the flour sticks to the chicken better overall.

Fry the chicken for 3-5 minutes on each side or until it is a light golden brown.  Put finished tenders on a baking sheet and into the oven at 100 degrees F. This will keep the chicken warm while you are finishing the rest. (See below.)

Start the rice pilaf so that it finish about the same time as the sauce.

Drain the leftover oil out of the skillet and quickly lay the slices of prosciutto on the warm pan until they are lightly cooked.   With the heat on low each slice should only take about 20-30 seconds to brown.  Put the prosciutto in the oven with the chicken.

Phase Two: Sage Cream Sauce

The sage cream sauce is really the cherry on the top and brings all the ingredients  together. Set the heavy cream in a medium saucepan  on medium-low and whisk very frequently for about 15-20 minutes  until the sauce has reduced to about half the volume.  It is ESSENTIAL that you do not leave the cream alone for very long so that a film doesn’t cover the top of the sauce and it doesn’t boil.  The sauce should stay just below simmering.

When the sauce is almost done, add the chiffonaded sage to the cream and let it  simmer for about five more minutes.   Turn of the heat and let the sauce thicken for a few minutes. To chiffonade the sage cut the leaf vertically in small strips.  (See below.)


When the cream is thick enough that it sticks to the spoon it is ready.    Layer the pilaf  chicken, prosciutto and cheese and pour the sauce over everything. I use fresh mozzarella, but you can just as easily use pre-shredded cheese.

Now you have a great dinner that will impress your friends and bring you back for seconds.

I hope you enjoy!  I would love to see pictures when you make it for yourself. 

Love,