Thursday, October 28, 2010
Basic Roast Chicken & Gravy
See part one - Brining a Chicken.
Your chicken has been brined and it is at room temperature. You are ready to roast! Start by watching this video, from CHOW, on how to truss your chicken. Trussing ensures the wings and legs are firmly attached to the body so that the bird cooks evenly and the small extremities don't dry out. Trussing also allows the bird to be turned easily during cooking. Prior to trussing, salt and pepper the inside of the cavity.
Once your bird is trussed, you are really ready to roast!
2-3 lb whole chicken, brined and trussed
2 tbsp butter at room temperature
1/4 cup butter, melted (or olive oil, or a mixture of the two)
salt and pepper
1 large carrot, cut into large chunks
1 onion, cut in quarters
1 celery stalk, cut into large chunks
1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees (F).
2. Smear 2-3 tablespoons of room temperature butter over the outside of the bird. If you prefer, you could also brush olive oil all over.
3. Generously salt and pepper the outside of the bird. If you'd like, you can also sprinkle with dried herbs of your choice. Place the chicken, breast side up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Arrange vegetables around the bird in the bottom of the pan. Here's a tip: I don't have a rack for my roasting pan so I propped my bird up ON TOP of the vegetables. As long as the bird doesn't sit on the bottom of the pan, anything goes!
4. Place pan in pre-heated oven and roast at the high heat for 15 minutes to get the top nice and brown. After 15 minutes, turn chicken and roast the other side for 15 minutes. Baste with melted butter. Turn back to breast side up, baste again and lower heat to 350 degrees (F).
5. Baste every 15-20 minutes. It may take up to 1 hour and 30 minutes to cook, but test for doneness after 50 minutes. The general rule of thumb is 30 minutes per pound. Stick a meat thermometer in the fattiest part of the thigh. The internal temperature should register 165-170 degrees (F). Any less and your chicken is undercooked. Any more and you risk a dried out bird. Remember that the chicken will continue cooking after you remove it from the oven. While cooking, if the legs, wings or breast start to get too browned, cover those bits with small pieces of tin foil to avoid burning.
6. Once proper internal temperature is reached, remove your bird from the oven and set on a plate or chopping board, covered with foil and leave to rest for 15-20 minutes. When ready to cut, check here for a tutorial on how to carve your chicken.
Serve with mashed potatoes, gravy and steamed veggies. A 2-3 pound chicken will adequately serve 2 or 3 people with a bit of left overs for soup, a stir fry or a casserole!
For gravy, try this White Wine Gravy from Martha Stewart. For a more simple gravy, try this one, like I used:
1 cup chicken stock
1 heaping teaspoon cornstarch mixed with a splash of warm water
salt & pepper
1. While chicken is resting, remove vegetables from roasting pan and discard. Scoop out and discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan. Place roasting pan on a burner over high heat (if pan is large, place across two burners).
2. Add chicken stock to hot pan and using a wooden spoon, scrape up the browned bits from the bottom (this is called de-glazing the pan). Bring to a boil.
3. Pour in cornstarch and bring to a boil, stirring continually. When sauce has thickened to your desired consistency, it's ready. Season with salt and pepper. Strain sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a gravy boat or glass bowl.
Next time... homemade chicken stock using the left over carcass and bones.