Jenean Perryman

Out of necessity, I started making a roast chicken almost once a week.  Not only is it a delicious and easy to prepare Sunday dinner, chicken also makes great left overs. After my chicken dinner, I de-bone the chicken into a zip-loc bag.  Later I make the leftovers into chicken salad or a chicken casserole.  Chicken also freezes well, and makes delicious White Lightning Chili.  Whatever the case, it makes my week a little less hectic with a head start on the next meal.  The Barefoot Contessa has the most wonderful recipe for roast chicken; I’ve included it. It’s also nice to change up the seasonings such as adding lemon pepper or extra thyme.

There are several sizes of chickens available for purchase, such as Fryer and Roaster.  I like to choose the Family Roaster.  It seems meatier, and has the size to feed my family with enough left over to get at least one additional meal from.

It is recommended that whole poultry should be cooked to 165’ to prevent the possibility of a bacteria problem.  It is always best to check the temperature of meats with a thermometer unless you are very experienced with the meat and the recipe.  It takes around two hours to cook a chicken of the Family Roaster size.  

You can purchase inexpensive thermometers from my friend Jeanine at Groumet’s in Grove or at any establishment that sells culinary equipment.  A good thermometer is an essential kitchen tool.  It’s next to impossible to gauge internal temperatures without one.  Most thermometers come with a listing of safe cooking temperatures and you can choose from a variety of digital and dial faces. Once you get into a habit of using a thermometer, you won’t want to cook without one.

The best place to check the temperature of a bird is just inside the thigh near the body.  Be careful not to hit a bone though, as you want to get an accurate temperature reading.  It is always best to take the temperature in several places. But, don’t start taking the temperature until you’re pretty sure your poultry is almost done, or you will be make holes for the juices to run out of your chicken.  We want to keep all the moisture in that we can.

Another helpful tool is a roasting pan.  I like the 13X16x3 “ish” size.  It not only will roast a terrific chicken or turkey, but you can also use it to make a lasagna or a huge casserole or cobbler; very versatile.  I really like the pans that have the nonstick roasting rack.  The rack lets the heat circulate around the bird making a beautiful golden crust.  Once again, Gourmet’s can fix you right up.

After you’ve had your Sunday dinner and de-boned the rest of the chicken, you can make a rich and beautiful chicken stock.  I like to save pan drippings that gathered in the pan while cooking and put the drippings along with the bones and skin into a stockpot.  I add an onion quartered, a couple of carrots chunked sometimes I add a clove of garlic a little thyme, sage, and or tarragon and a palm full of peppercorns.  Cover with water and bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Simmer broth for about 2 hours or longer if you have time.  Turn the heat off and allow broth to cool.  When cool, strain through a fine colander, discard bones and veggies and pour into freezer proof containers.  Freeze for use in soups or as the liquid for delicious rice. The stock is so much better that canned and more healthful too, as it is not full of sodium or preservatives.  

Hope you enjoy- Jenean

Roasted Chicken

1 Roasting Chicken,

5-7 lbs.           

1 t fresh ground pepper,

 divided

1 Onion, quartered           1 t poultry seasoning,

divided

1 lemon, quartered           2T butter, melted

2 t Sea Salt, divided           1 garlic clove, broken up

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Place breast side up on roasting rack.  Sprinkle inside with half of salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning.  Place onion, lemon and garlic inside chicken.  Brush chicken skin with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining salt, pepper and poultry seasoning.  Tie up the cavity.

Bake at 350’ for about 2 hours, until juices run clear or until an internal temperate of 165’ is reached.