We were having a few people over tonight for Dinner. I was running short on time because of an event at the store. So I put together one of my favorite meals in under an hour.
Red Smashed Potatoes
Cinnamon Donut Muffins for dessert
Truly this meal is soooo easy! and incredibly tasty. It serves 4-5 people comfortably.
Instead of going into all the boring details about each dish. I thought I would just tell you about one of the fastest and most economical things you can do to impress you guests beyond belief … the perfect Roasted Chicken!
I picked up a bird, on sale actually, it was about 6lbs. That’s a big chicken and depending on how many people you are serving you may need to do two chickens.
Chicken are gross looking if you ask me and I hate cleaning them. But first things first!
Remove the giblets (if any) from the cavity of the bird and wash it really well with cold water.
Then dry it good … a damp bird will not brown … just use paper towels and dab the water away.
You can preheat your oven to 450 degrees right about now.
Jamie Oliver has a really great tip that I have adopted. He calls it a “rubbish bowl”. Its a just a bowl on the counter to dispose of waste in as you are cooking. Simple idea but it saves running back and forth to the trash can and keeps your cooking more organized. Composting food scraps is great to do if you can … but if you can’t and you live in the city like me … I keep a bag in my freezer for them so they aren’t sitting in the trash stinking up the kitchen till trash day.
We are going to stuff the cavity with aromatics. I choose lemon, onion and garlic. There is no science to this. Just cut those pieces up in chuncks and stuff it in the chicken. Not need to peel the onion. I do always smash the garlic a bit. Make sure to cut the lemon in half.
At this point a real chef would probably “truss” the chicken. Which is essentially tying its leg together to keep it in good form. I never seem to have string on hand so I adopted this little trick. Honestly I don’t know if this is proper form or not but it works for me. On the skin outside the cavity make a little hole and stick the drumstick from the opposite side through. Do this for both sides.
If you have a real kitchen and happen to have string on hand … you can truss properly. Ill explain that at a later date when I get string.
Next we have to prepare the outside of the bird. Get some fresh herbs. Did I say fresh? They have to be fresh. Im using Rosemary, Thyme, and Sage. Thats a pretty standard trio in chicken making and most grocery stores sell a pack containing all three.
Remove the stems (I’m so bad at this part – see pic below) from the fresh herbs and chop them up. Put them in a bowl with olive oil, pepper, and salt. We are looking for a slight paste thingy here. I’m so technical in the kitchen. By the way, if you are looking for measurements … I have none. As my grandmother always said “A little bit of this, A little bit of that.” To which my mother would say, “Pick a temperature and take it out when its done.” Truly this is how I learned to cook. The one time they do have a recipe written down, its enough for the state of Texas. It reads things like 5lbs of sausage and 10lbs of cheese. It’s crazy … really … just ask my sisters.
Side note: There is this wonderful thing in grocery stores now … its called Worcestershire pepper … it’s awesome … I put it on all meats!
Now you are going to want to cover the bird in the paste we just made. Really making sure the chicken is covered all around in the herbs.
Now throw it in the oven … a 9×13 roasting pan is usually perfect.
Leave it for 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Then turn the heat down to 375 degrees.
I usually cook breast side down for half the cooking time and then flip it for the remaining time.
Get a meat thermometer … I can’t stress this enough. I have a digital one that sticks to the outside of the oven and tells me when the bird hits the desired temp. When you stick the thermometer probe in the chicken make sure its well inserted and not hitting any bones. Put it in the thickest part of the breast. Screw that pop thing the chickens come with! They are set to pop when the bird reaches 175 degrees … thats definitely safe but overcooks the bird. We want the breast to be 165 degrees for perfect doneness. It usually about 20mins per pound … but this bird took almost 2 and a half hours … I still have no idea why.
If all goes well … it should look like this when done:
Perfectly crispy skin and wonderful juicy meat.
A perfect Sunday Dinner …