Chicken Nostalgia

Or - Soul Quenchingly Moist Roasted Chicken

Ah, those mouth watering aromas filing the air - somehow not as quite comforting if you worked your butt off all day in the kitchen to make it happen.  Wouldn't it be lovely to just walk in the door after work and have it all there waiting for you?  Impossible you say?  No money for a maid or personal chef?  No worries, I most definitely do not have those in my future either, but what I do have is a delicious roast chicken waiting for me to add the finishing touches to when I get home.  One thing you will need to make this wonderful dinner work is a "delay" cook option on your oven or someone that gets home before you to turn the oven on, since it can be easily prepped and ready to cook in the morning or the night before.  If you are stranded with neither of these options then it may best be saved for a weekend meal, but that does not make it in the least bit less satisfying.  Prepping the chicken can almost be a soothing process in itself, so let's get started!

Other essentials for delicious chicken (aka ingredients):

1 whole roaster chicken (6-7 lbs)
4 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
2 small white onions
2 cups chicken stock
salt & pepper (Sea salt is wonderful in this dish)
aluminum foil

Hardware: roasting pan or disposable aluminum deep baking pan (if at all possible using these once in a while makes clean-up a breeze and doesn't interfere with pure chicken enjoyment)

1. Prep the chicken by removing any giblets/organs/neck and rinse thoroughly.

2. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil (if not using disposable) and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Lay the bird on its back in the pan tucking the wings up over the shoulders so it lounges comfortably in the pan.

3. Gently separate the skin from the bird at the bottom by carefully moving your fingertips up to create a small amount of space as far up as you can without tearing the skin, leave three of the four seams attached. Rub 1 tsp of minced garlic in between the skin and flesh of each breast.

4. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine, a cooking band twisted into a figure 8, or use toothpicks to secure them to the breast area (but if doing this be careful not to split the wood, splinters are not so pleasant for you or the bird). Season the outside with the remaining minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil, massaging the spices into the skin.  If you are not feeling particularly compassionate towards your bird you could also simply sprinkle with seasonings and spray with olive oil cooking spray (we won't judge you, not everyone likes get this up close and personal with their dinner).

5. Cut the onions into quarters and nestle around the edges of the bird kind of propping it up a bit while it lounges. Pour the chicken stock into the pan so that it comes up around the bird on all sides (if putting on time bake you'll want to use frozen stock or add a few ice cubes to keep it cold).

6. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil so that the liquid does not escape while cooking. Place in oven and and set "delay" cook to have the chicken ready when you get home, initial time to cook is 1 hour and 15 minutes at 375°.

7. Remove the pan from the oven and discard the aluminum foil that was covering the chicken. Increase the oven temperature to 450°. Baste the chicken with the juices from the pan (optional but helps if you are worried about moistness, you don't have to worry with this recipe, but a little basting won't hurt if it gives you peace of mind) then return to the oven to continue to cook until the skin is golden and the internal temperature is at least 160°

8. Remove the now golden chicken from oven and allow to set for ten minutes before carving.

And there it is!  Easy, quick prep and a delicious roast chicken dinner.  Toss a couple of potatoes in to bake when you put the chicken in and you don't even have to worry about sides.  If you remove the chunks of onions and heat on a burner you can easily make a chicken gravy from the pan juices by adding a few extra spices and then slowly mixing in cornstarch and water (premixed together) until desired thickness, just remember to give it time before adding too much since it does take a few minutes to thicken.  I find the comfort food factor definitely goes up by completing this step and then pouring it over the chicken and potatoes, but everyone is different and it may not be your cup of tea.

When eating for one this can be a great recipe to have leftovers for lunches or dinners later in the week, making it an even more stress reducing option.  Another bonus - make great chicken stock from the bones and leftover onions - just add these with water, salt, other leftover veggies like celery and carrots, and simmer for a couple hours before straining and storing in the fridge or freezer.

As you can see, I am anxiously awaiting my lunch leftovers from this so I will not keep you any longer.  Until we meet again I wish you comforting foods and peace of mind, take care and as always - enjoy!

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