Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Roast Chicken And A Little Leftovers

Chicken is a good thing to eat. It is full of vitamin B3 and protein along with lots of other good things (http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=116). It takes on other flavours very well and is easy to cook a million different ways. When I want to roast a chicken, I usually do it in the oven. I love it when our house smells like roast chicken. Soooo good....

Anyways, back to the chicken. When I roast it, I try to add flavour but not too much as to overpower the flavor of the chicken itself. I cook it almost the same way as I do a turkey. And when I pick all of the meat off the carcass, I make chicken soup. After the initial meal, there is always leftover meat to use for other dishes. Chicken sandwiches is the most common meal. I like it straight up on bread with a little butter, salt and pepper. That way the flavor of the sandwich is the chicken. Sometimes I may venture out and add a little white organic cheddar if I am feeling a little adventurous.

Other chicken leftover dishes would include what I have talked about before with turkey leftovers, a succotash-type dish with a vegetable stir-fry, a little chicken stock and the chicken meat. A very good dish to serve especially when you are in a hurry. You can still eat a healthy meal and be gone out the door in a flash. Another idea is make chicken pot pie. I'll make it, if I can find a way to keep the fat down and still be full of flavor. Chicken pot pie is great but but the sauce is the killer. I'll keep you posted on this. If I do decide to make it, I will make a few smaller ones and freeze them for a future date at the kitchen table.

Roast Chicken

- one 4-6 pound farm raised, organic or free run chicken, completely thawed if previously frozen
- a lemon
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 cloves garlic
- fresh ground pepper
- sea salt
- 1 tsp unsalted butter. If you don't have unsalted, use regular
- 2 large basil leaves, cut into ribbons

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (approx. 220C). Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out.
2. Salt and pepper the cavity. You can truss it if you like, but I don't. I was told when you truss a bird, it helps it cook more evenly. I like it better when there is better air flow through the cavity to help it cook faster on the inside.
3. Wash the lemon and prick holes in it all over the skin with a fork or a sharp knife. Put it along with the garlic, rosemary and thyme in the cavity.
4. Mix the butter, basil and a little pepper in a small bowl and rub it between the skin and the breast meat. Get it all over under the skin on the chicken, as far as your hand can go.

5. Rub a little EVOO on the skin and place the chicken in a roasting pan or on a baking sheet. When the oven is up to temperature, put the chicken in the oven. Let it bake for 15 minutes and then turn it down to 350F (175C). Roast until done, about 70-90 minutes.
6. Remove it from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board. This is an important step. If it doesn't rest before you start cutting it up, the juices will escape out onto the cutting board. Letting it sit helps redistribute the juices throughout the bird.
7. After letting it sit, separate the meat from the bones and serve. I peel back the skin and don't eat it. Too fatty. There is a lot of flavor in the skin, but that's not what this blog is about. If I want to eat chicken skin, I splurge and eat a little bit if I, for some reason, go off the deep end and eat deep fried chicken, but that's it.

Tips: As I mentioned earlier, there are infinite ways to roast a chicken. Thomas Keller, one of America's greatest chefs (http://www.frenchlaundry.com/) and (http://www.tkrg.org/) says it's best to keep your chicken as dry as possible in the oven and don't create any steam. Personally, I like to have a little steam in my oven when cooking a bird. I think it's considered cheating, but if it helps you roast a chicken so it's nice and juicy, I'm all for it. Sometimes if it's dry here (we're close to the mountains, so the air can be very dry), I will stick a ramekin half full of water in the oven with the bird to add moisture and steam it a little. It comes out moist and juicy every time. Can't complain about that! Food cooks differently, especially when it comes to baking, in different parts of the world. If it's drier, more moisture is required. If it's humid, you'll need less.

After you strip the meat off and you want to make soup, you can either put it in the soup pot as is or bake it first. A few weeks back I showed you how to roast the chicken bones and make soup with it, so go back a little on here and check it out if you have to. It's always a good idea to have some frozen chicken stock around. You never know when it will come in handy. Freeze it in ice cube trays or in zip lock bags. Measure it before you put it in the bags so you know exactly how much you have. Either way, you will have some extra around for a few months to use when you need it.

Little O's Menu

Today I fed her a low GI (Glycemic Index, http://www.glycemicindex.com/), high fiber bread from Cob's Bakery (http://www.cobsbread.com/home/). It's a white bread, but it it's actually pretty good. The only time I normally eat white bread is at the in-laws, and maybe the odd time here if it's fresh. It's like a drug, I love it but have to stay away from it or I will finish it all. Anyways, she loved it with some spreadable cheese. I think she just likes bread, period. That's a good thing if she's eating the right types, as we all should be. We are still giving her the fresh berries with yogurt as well and I believe this will go on for quite a long time. The dish is full of vitamins and antioxidants from the berries, and the calcium, probiotics and a little fat from the yogurt.

Suppers have consisted of a lot of sweet potatoes still. There's quite a bit of it left in our freezer and she keeps eating it, so we're just going to roll with it. We have been mixing in a little beef and/or green beans. Again, there's lots of beans as well, so she will keep getting them for awhile.

Yesterday, I went to Blu Fresh Fish & Seafood to pick up a few Digby scallops flown in fresh that morning, so they were good and fresh. I was supposed to cook them last night, but I stayed at the gym too long and didn't do it. Good thing I don't have a dog with a house. Ooops...

So, TODAY I cooked them up using a very familiar method you all may have ate or made at one point or another. I will talk about them next time.

Here a picture of Little O at her 1st birthday party. Our friends, Bob and Darcy, gave her this little apron. She is now officially a chef-in-training.

Quote Of The Day:
"Chicken fat, beef fat, fish fat, fried foods - these are the food that fuel our fat genes by giving them raw materials for building body fat."
- Neal Barnard - American physician, author and founding president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)

On a less serious note, here's another one strictly for the humour:
"Erotica is using a feather, pornography is using the whole chicken."
- Isabel Allende, Chilean writer

Until next time, good eating everyone.


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