Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Recipes Eleven and Twelve

Tonight I give you Perfect Roast Chicken (page 196) and Roasted Vegetables (page 202):

Normally, I don't like to roast chickens in the oven. It's a lot of prep work, it's messy, and in the end, the meat always tastes bland to me. I've put stuff in the cavity, under the skin, under the bird, trussed, not trussed, but the result is always the same - bland meat. For all that, I'd rather just go to Fry's and pick up a rotisserie chicken for five bucks. Terrible, I know, but nothing I was doing at home tasted as good.

That is, until I discovered making the chicken in a slow cooker. It's freaking genius! You just chop a couple of onions into giant pieces, toss them in the bottom of the crock, lay the chicken on top, sprinkle it with a blend of spices (I have a recipe, email me if you want it), rub them in, cover and cook for four hours or so. Simple, easy, FLAVORFUL, and no mess. Sure, it's not pretty, and I wouldn't ever serve it to company, but for us it works. The meat just falls off the bone when it's done.

Best part - I don't even wash the crockpot right away. After dinner, I take the bones (we debone it before serving so I'm not using stuff off our plates, gross) and skin, toss them back into the crock with the drippings that I left in there and the cooked onions, toss in some celery, a few carrots, and some herbs. Then I fill it to the top with filtered water and let it simmer on low heat all night. In the morning, I end up with the most amazing chicken stock that I then freeze to use in other recipes.

Back to my point - it was going to take a LOT for Mr. Oliver to convince me that roasting a chicken in the oven was worth my time. I followed his directions down to the poking and microwaving of the lemon. I didn't have any fresh herbs, but I used some rosemary I had in the freezer and some dried bay leaves in the cavity. This was the result:

Check out my mad trussing skills. Who needs twine?

The skin on this was so freaking good. Yeah, I said skin, because I'm gross like that and it's my favorite part. It was crispy and flavorful and I ate most of it by myself. As for the chicken, it was very moist. It was also very bland. Such a disappointment.

The recipe says to baste this halfway through the cooking time of an hour and 20 minutes, but when I went to do that, there was no liquid in there to use for basting! It was dry, dry, dry. After thinking about it for a minute, I just went ahead and drizzled a little bit more olive oil on the top and rubbed it in with a silicone basting brush. I also put a little bit of filtered water in there so that the veggie trivet wouldn't scorch. By the end of the cooking time there were some drippings in the bottom of the pan finally.

I roasted this at 400 degrees for an hour and 20 minutes, and I checked the temperature in the meatiest part of the thigh to be sure it had reached 160 degrees, but when I cut into the chicken, the juices were still running slightly pink. Also, there was one spot on my husband's drumstick where it was just flat out bright ass red near the bone. That never happens in the crock pot. Hmmph.

My intentions were to serve this with the roasted vegetable recipe on page 202. It calls for potatoes, carrots and parsnips. I had potatoes in the fridge, and I used up the rest of the baby carrots from yesterday. However, I was fresh out of parsnips.

Just kidding. I've never had a parsnip in my life and I'm pretty sure those are a fall thing, so I decided to use zucchini instead. My neighbor gave me a couple more when I took her zucchini bread this afternoon.

Unfortunately for me, I figured this would be like any other set of directions for roasting veggies. Um, wrong! Not only do you have to roast everything for an hour, you have to boil them beforehand! I was imagining some pretty soggy veggies at this point, so I said screw it and skipped the boiling part. I also peeled my garlic cloves because I'm a rebel like that. I tossed everything in a mixing bowl, instead of in a roasting pan and then just poured it out onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Finally, I only roasted them for 40 minutes, because the chicken was done and I was hungry, dammit.

They were fine. And tasty too, might I add. The baby ate two spears of the zucchini, a carrot, and a few bites of potato. He wanted absolutely nothing to do with the chicken. I can't say that I blame him. Other than the yummy skin, it was a disappointment. We ended up giving him leftovers from the quinoa dish we had last night. He ate that right up.

As for me, even though I had a thigh and a drumstick, along with a good portion (I had a bit more after I finished what was in the photo) of roasted vegetables, I still feel hungry. I will probably have some of the fantastic potato chips I bought during a moment of weakness while I'm watching Lost tonight. Perhaps a little umami is just what the taste buds ordered.

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Blogger Miss Anne said...

THAT looks delish! :)

well done sweet pea

10:03 PM  
Blogger Lindsay Teague Moreno said...

Um that chicken looks delish and so juicy! I watched Ina last night hen I couldn't sleep and she did her "engagement chicken" and I am gonna make it this weekend. Yum. Your pics make me salivate!

9:12 AM  
Blogger mademoisellechitchat said...

I can honestly say that my roasted chicken is never bland nor dry. I swear my Lawry's Garlic Salt and Coarse Black Pepper. Sometimes, I use Lawry's Seasoning Salt.

Do you use chicken broth? If not, do so.

6:27 AM  
Blogger Hooptee said...

Roasting in the crockpot? Oh do tell!! I will have to try that. I hate roasting because it heats up the house. Using the crockpot would be fantastic!

7:09 AM  

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