I do love roast chicken. You get a nice dinner, another meal or two and a big pot of soup! That’s a good deal, especially since I buy organic free-range chickens. They are not cheap but they meet my considerations about eating animals / animal fat and the unclean way that most chickens are raised and processed. We have many nights without meat, but this is a great way to start a few meals, and/or have leftovers for sandwiches or to top salads. Here at the pantry we know that there are a variety of ways to eat healthfully but all of them include real food made from real ingredients with as much vegetables as possible. Little Sis’ family is pretty much vegan. Mine eats meat once or twice a week with roast chicken followed by soup being a staple approach.
Recently I have been mixing lemon zest, oregano, salt and pressed garlic and sliding it between the skin and the meat of one of our lovely organic free range birds. I add little red potatoes to the pot and my son is suddenly asking for seconds when he was previously NOT a fan of chicken. This approach is definitely worth the 5- 10 minutes it takes to make the rub and put it on the chicken. The house smells fabulous….. right now in fact!
The trick is to find the break between the skin and the meat at the opening of the chicken and then work your fingers into the break, first without and then with the rub.
The mash I used this time was
zest of 3 lemons
1 -2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Oregano
4 – 6 cloves of pressed garlic.
Mix and then spread under the skin, on top and if any left over place in body cavity. You can also save some to put on top of potatoes that you add to the pot to cook together. If you cook the potatoes with the chicken it is a good idea to use a syringe baster to spread some of the juices onto the potatoes.
I roast my chickens upside down as it keeps more juice in the breast. If you like a browned skin then flip the bird when you still have 15 or 20 minutes to go and leave the top off if using a roaster. Please follow guidelines for cooking chicken appropriately to avoid food poisoning and make sure you wash hands well after handling raw chicken. I like to cook chicken at a higher temp for a shorter time as I think that also makes it more juicy. I cook at 400 and check it with a meat thermometer after an hour for a small chicken (organic chickens then to be smaller).
We ate this chicken with beet greens sauteed in some of the cooked chicken juices and of course the potatoes. Very tasty … and some leftover meat for another dinner, plus soup in a couple of days! Bonanza 🙂
If you keep this carcass for soup then you get an added bonus of a little lemon-y, garlic-y flavor to your soup. This is really nice for a minestrone, or just plain old chicken noodle or chicken with rice.
For further instructions on making soup from a carcass see my post on the subject.
This makes a lovely dish to serve guests as well – although you might need 2 so as to be sure and have some leftovers 😉
Enjoy savoring many meals with family and friends this holiday season. Little Sis and I have been hard at work on compiling our Baby Steps and a bunch of recipes into an e-book that we hope to release soon….. just in time to help you out with your New Years Resolutions 😉 We’ll keep you posted!