Sunday, March 22, 2020

Ready, Set, Go: One Chicken Makes 3 Meals

Living in a coronavirus world means that markets are stressed by shoppers who need more supplies since they are cooking at home and because people are buying extra. Finding a whole chicken may take a bit of work, but the results are well-worth the effort. 



Restaurants are closed. The home kitchen is now more important than ever. What's needed are easy-to-make recipes that yield not just one but several meals.

A roasted whole chicken is a great way to go.

After you have enjoyed the hot-from-the-oven chicken, by using the bones and pan drippings, you can make a stock, which in turn can be used to make soups and sauces.

My mother and grandmother taught me that to waste food is a sin. In this case, that means always reserving the pan drippings, giblets, neck, heart, bones and carcass of the chicken to make a best-ever stock that you can use to make a delicious chicken-vegetable-rice soup or chicken and dumplings.


If a liver came with the chicken, use it to make a tasty mushroom-chicken liver pate for an amuse bouche.

Serve the whole chicken with sides or make the one chicken serve up several meals by combining a leg, wing or part of the breast with steamed rice and a chopped parsley salad.


Easy to Make, No Fuss Whole Roast Chicken

I have a friend who doesn't cook. For her, a roasted chicken is the ideal dish because it has only a few simple steps. 

As with anything in life, begin with good ingredients to achieve better results. That is especially true in cooking. Buy a good plump, pale-pink chicken, preferably one that was raised without hormones. 

Check the expiration date to confirm it is fresh. 

One chicken 3 1/2 - 4 pounds feeds 4 people. If you are feeding fewer people, the chicken will provide you with even more meals. 

If you aren't going to eat all the meat and stock within 2 days, use plastic wrap to wrap the cooked chicken, place the pieces inside a sealed plastic bag and freeze. 

To freeze the stock, place the liquid in sealable containers, preferably 8 or 16 oz for easy use. 

Only use Diamond Crystal kosher salt. All the other brands I've seen add chemical preservatives. Diamond Crystal does not.

Use a roasting sheet tray larger than the chicken, with 1" sides. 
 A sheet tray with sides lower than a roasting pan facilitates browning on the sides of the chicken. 

Line the bottom with aluminum foil and, if available, a Silpat sheet. 

If a Silpat (non-stick) sheet is not available, lining the pan with aluminum foil is sufficient for easy-clean up. The advantage of a Silpat sheet is that all the delicious drippings slide off easily and can be added to the stock. 

Silpat sheets are widely available in many supermarkets, at all cooking supply stores and online. Use a Silpat sheet that fits the dimensions of your pan.

Truss the chicken with kitchen twine if you want. 



As an option, place Yukon Gold potatoes, brown mushrooms and yellow onions on the bottom of the roasting pan when you turn over the chicken. They will acquire flavor from the drippings. Serve the vegetables with the chicken or use in a soup.

 Serves 4

Time to prep: 15 minutes

Time to cook: 60 - 90 minutes depending on size of chicken

Time to rest before serving: 5 minutes

Special Cooking Tools 

Roasting sheet tray (with a 1" rim)

Aluminum foil and Silpat sheet (optional) to fit the roasting sheet tray

12"-14" kitchen tongs

Roasting rack (optional)

Cooking twine (optional)

Ingredients for roasting

1 whole 3 1/2 - 4 pound chicken, washed, liver, giblets, neck and heart if included, removed, washed and reserved separately

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 medium sized Yukon Gold potatoes, washed, quartered (optional)

1 large yellow onion, washed, peeled, root end and top removed, quartered (optional)

6 brown mushrooms, washed, stem end removed, leave whole (optional)

Directions

First, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water (remember the 20 second drill), then wash the chicken inside and out with water (no soap). Dry off the outside of the chicken.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Prepare a roasting pan by lining the bottom with aluminum foil. Place a Silpat sheet on top of the foil and, if available, a roasting rack on top of the Silpat sheet and aluminum foil.

Drizzle olive oil inside and outside the whole chicken and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Place the chicken breast-side down on a roasting rack, if available. If one is not available, place the chicken breast-side down directly on the aluminum foil/Silpat sheet lined roasting pan and place into the oven.

Cook 30 minutes.

Using oven mitts, remove the chicken from the oven. Place on stove top and use tongs to turn over the chicken so now it is breast-side up.

Add vegetables to the bottom of the roasting pan (optional).


Cook another 30 minutes or until the legs move easily.

Remove from the oven. Place a sheet of aluminum foil on the top. Allow the chicken to rest, to release its juices.

That's it.

To make chicken stock from the bones and pan drippings, please look below to the directions for Making Chicken Stock.

Feta-Brined Roasted Whole Chicken

My favorite roast chicken takes a bit more effort (not that much!) and seven additional ingredients.

To make the roast chicken more festive, I add feta and onions on top. Neither are essential but they add delicious flavors.

Brining the whole chicken for two hours or overnight makes the meat more tender and moist. That extra step is well worth it, but can be omitted.

One chicken 3 1/2 - 4 pounds feeds 4 people. If you are feeding fewer people, the chicken will provide you with even more meals. If you aren't going to eat all the meat and stock within 2 days, wrap the chicken in plastic wrap inside a sealed plastic bag and freeze. To freeze the stock, place the liquid in a sealable container, preferably 8 or 16 oz for easy use. 

My mother and grandmother taught me that to waste food is a sin. In this case, that means always reserving the pan drippings, giblets, neck, heart, bones and carcass of the chicken to make a best-ever stock that you can use to make delicious chicken-vegetable-rice soup or chicken and dumplings.



If a liver came with the chicken, use it to make a tasty mushroom-chicken liver pate to serve as an amuse bouche.

Only use Diamond Crystal kosher salt. All the other brands I've seen put in chemical additives. Diamond Crystal does not.

Use a roasting pan with 1" sides to facilitate browning on the sides of the chicken. 


Line the roasting pan first with aluminum foil and then with a Silpat sheet. If a Silpat (non-stick) sheet is not available, lining the pan with aluminum foil is sufficient for easy-clean up. The advantage of a Silpat sheet is that all the delicious drippings slide off easily and can be added to the stock. Silpat sheets are widely available in many supermarkets, at all cooking supply stores and online. Use a Silpat sheet that fits the dimensions of your pan.

You do not have to truss the chicken with kitchen twine. 

Before beginning, carefully wash the inside and outside of the chicken with fresh water. If brining, place the washed chicken into the liquid. If not, pat dry and season with olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper on the inside and outside.

 Serves 4

Time to brine: at least two hours or overnight

Time to prep: 15 minutes

Time to cook: 60 - 90 minutes depending on size of chicken

Time to rest before serving: 5 minutes

Special Cooking Tools 

Roasting sheet tray (with a 1" rim)

Aluminum foil and Silpat sheet to fit the roasting sheet tray

12"-14" kitchen tongs

Roasting rack (optional)

Cooking Twine (optional)

Ingredients for roasting

1 whole 3 1/2 - 4 pound chicken, washed, liver, giblets, neck and heart if included, removed, washed and reserved separately

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients for the brine

1/4 cup fresh feta, preferably Bulgarian (because it is less expensive), crumbled

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon white sugar

4 bay leaves, whole

1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Ingredients for the topping

1 medium onion, washed, top and root end removed, peeled, sliced thin from the top to the bottom

1/2 cup Italian parsley, stems and leaves, washed, drained, finely chopped

1/4 cup fresh feta, Bulgarian, crumbled

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Small bowl of flake salt (optional) on the table

Directions for brining

Use twine to tie together the legs and wings (optional)


Place the chicken, salt, sugar and aromatics into a large heavy plastic bag or a container with a lid. Fill with cold water until the chicken is submerged. Seal. If using a plastic bag, place in a large bowl so the water doesn't leak.

Refrigerate at least two hours or overnight.

Directions for Roasting

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and a Silpat sheet on top of the foil for easier cleanup. Place a roasting rack on top of the lined baking sheet. If no roasting rack is available, place the chicken directly on the lined baking sheet, breast side down.

Remove the chicken from the brine. Rinse, pat dry and allow to rest uncovered for 10 minutes.

Pour the brine through a colander to capture the feta. Discard the brining aromatics. Remove the feta and reserve.

In a bowl, mix together the feta from the brine, the additional feta, onion, parsley, sea salt and black pepper.

Rub olive oil over the chicken. Add remaining olive oil to the feta-onion-parlsey topping and mix well. Set aside.

Place chicken onto the roasting rack if one is available, breast down and put into the preheated oven. Roast for thirty minutes or until the skin is brown and crisp to the touch.

Reduce oven to 350F.

Using tongs, turn over the chicken, being careful not to tear the skin. Place the chicken breast-side up on the roasting rack.

Cover the breast-side up chicken with the feta-onion-parlsey topping.  The mound of onions will seem large, but will greatly reduce during cooking. If any bits fall onto the bottom of the baking tray, no worries, you can scoop them up later.


Return to the oven. After 30 minutes, check for doneness. Wiggle a chicken leg. If there is resistance, the chicken needs more time. If the topping is getting too brown, place a sheet of aluminum over the top like a tent. Roast another 15 minutes and check for doneness. Continue roasting until the leg moves freely.

Remove from the oven and place a sheet of aluminum foil over the top so the chicken rests for 5 minutes.

Remove aluminum foil. Carve in the kitchen or at the table. Use a recently sharpened knife or kitchen sheers. Plate the chicken with the charred onion-feta-parsley mix on top.

Serve hot with sides of roasted potatoes, squash or salt boiled spinach.

Place a small bowl of flake salt on the table. The crunch of the salt will add to the pleasures of the dish.

Making chicken stock

Once the chicken has been carved, reserve all the bones and pan drippings. If there isn't time to make stock that night, refrigerate and make the next day.

I prefer to make my chicken stock without aromatics or seasoning beyond the flavors provided during roasting. That way, when you use the stock to make soup or a sauce, you can add whatever flavors you want.

To make the stock, add the bones, pan drippings, reserved neck, heart and gizzard to a 3-4 quart pot and add fresh water to cover by 2".

Place on the stove on a medium-high flame, bring to a low boil and simmer 60 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by 1/3. Taste and continue simmering until the flavor is to your liking.

Allow to cool. Strain the liquid into a bowl.  Remove the bones, neck, heart and gizzard. Pick the meat off the bones and reserve the gizzard. The meat and gizzard can be used in a salad, to make chicken and dumplings or to add to a chicken-vegetable soup.

Place stock into containers with lids. 8 and 16 oz containers are useful. An 8 oz container will make a sauce. A 16 oz container will make soup for one.

The soup can be kept frozen for 3-4 months without hurting the quality. When you remove the frozen stock from the freezer, use fresh water to rinse off any ice crystals that might have formed on the top of the stock.

To make a soup, sauté cut up vegetables in olive oil until lightly browned, add chicken stock and parts of the chicken like the gizzard, a leg or wing. Simmer covered until vegetables soften. Serve hot.

No comments:

Slow Roasted Brown Sugar Pork Ribs for Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day or Any Day Delicious

Stafer-at-home means being careful but it doesn't mean we can't enjoy a great summertime feast. Memorial Day, Fourth ...