As I have said before, my bouts of vegetarianism are always followed up by an insatiable chicken rage. I blame it primarily on Winking Lizard’s kickass BBQ half chicken. There are few things in life better than that BBQ half chicken. But I digress. I’ve been experimenting with various chicken recipes from The Joy of Cooking, and thought, instead of devoting a post to each, I could just summarize it all here.
Roasted Chicken with Herbs and Garlic (plus Gravy!)
After my success with my first roast chicken, I decided the other day to try it again, with some variation. It’s such an easy meal, because all you really need to do is coat the chicken and pop it in the oven for an hour. Of course, you have to worry about side dishes in the meanwhile, but you can focus on them instead of being torn every which way by the main dish.
This time, I decided to follow the recipe for Roasted Chicken with Herbs and Garlic. On the whole, it just follows the original recipe (I used the turning method again since it worked out so well last time) but before roasting, you coat the chicken with a mixture of minced garlic, finely chopped thyme or rosemary (I chose thyme), salt, and red pepper flakes. The mixture is supposed to be applied under the chicken’s skin, which I found challenging. I was able to loosen it to a point, but couldn’t get it all over. So I applied some to the skin, because, why not? The turning method worked well again, except this time it wouldn’t balance, so I used balls of foil to prop it up. One of them tumbled to the lower rack of the oven and I ended up burning my arm on the oven. Note to self: wear long sleeves when reached into the oven.
The best part of the recipe, though, was the gravy (Poultry Pan Sauce or Gravy, page 579). If you remember, I tried the gravy last time, but I misread the directions, and instead of making a paste of the butter and flour before mixing it in, I just threw them in separately, which resulted in a piecey, liquidy gravy. This time, I made the paste as directly and mixed it in slowly. The result was an amazingly thick broth, which was super flavorful with the extra chicken juices I poured in.
The last thing to mention about this meal is that I finally successfully carved a chicken! I’ve tried several times before but usually end up just shredding the meat off. This time, I cut eight nice, clean pieces just as one should. Thanks to an article I found in Bon Appetit for the instructions! So now I can both roast a chicken, and carve it too. Woohoooo!! If life was a video game, I feel like this warrants a level up.
But that’s not all to the story of the chicken who gave its life for our meal the other day! I am trying to get into a habit of utilizing everything and not wasting anything if I can help it. So that eve
ning, after our delicious dinner, I decided to make chicken stock. I used the recipe in The Joy of Cooking as a base, but went a little rogue with it. Instead of using the whole chicken, I used what remained of the chicken, and instead of pulsing the mirepoix in a blender (I hate using the blender because I hate washing it), I just chopped them up and tossed them in. This simmered for about forty minutes. Then I drained the liquid out– it fit into two deep square Tupperware containers. I wish I could share with you how good it smelled!
Arroz con Pollo
That’s not the end of the chicken. The stock got to play a role in a meal I made a couple days later. This meal was extra special because I got to make it for my sister Amanda, who was down with a cold. It’s not often that we get to hang out for any period of time, so it was extra special to make something warm and comforting and delicious for her.
I turned to page 599 for the recipe for Arroz con Pollo (Chicken and Rice.) Instead of getting a mix of thighs, drumsticks, and breasts as the recipe calls for, I got about 4 pounds of chicken thighs on the bone from Fresh Thyme. I followed the recipe with few variations. I added an extra bell pepper (red for color), and omitted the saffron (for financial reasons) and the smoked ham (I’m sure it would have been so delicious in it, but I try to avoid eating ham and beef.) I also didn’t have the right kind of white rice (I don’t think sushi rice would work with this recipe!) so I used brown rice, which I allowed a couple extra minutes of cooking time before adding the chicken. I included my homemade chicken stock which was so delicious and flavorful. Plus the accumulated juices from the chicken– infused chickeny goodness from every angle.
The meal turned out so delicious, and was really so easy. I enjoy meals that are all in one dish so you don’t have to worry about side dishes! It also made a lot, so there was enough for all three of us to have, plus leftovers for each of us. It’s definitely one I’ll be adding to my rotation. I might try some variations on it next time!
And now to figure out what to do with the remaining 3ish cups of chicken stock…