Thursday, October 13, 2011

Shitshow Kitchen: The Best Roast Chicken EVAR (plus Bonus Garlic Mashed Potatoes)

I know what you are thinking. Roast chicken? Um, that seems like A.) alot of work, and 2.) impossible for me to make without screwing it over. Well, THINK AGAIN. This is so ridiculously easy that if it didn't involve chopping some stuff, handling raw chicken, and using an oven, a child could do it. OK, that was a really bad comparison. A child would cut off their hands, get salmonella, and light themselves on fire making this. But YOU will be fine. And it is SO EFFING DELICIOUS. It takes almost NO time to throw together, and the end result is perfect, every time. The chicken recipe is lifted wholesale from Ina Garten, who is my favorite.
You can tell this is healthy, because there are alot of veggies. And fruit.
INGERDIENTES! (How did that even happen right there. Well, you know what I mean.)

1 (5 to 6 pound) whole chicken
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
1/4 C butter (half a stick)
1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
Olive oil
4 Yukon Gold potatoes
5 cloves garlic
1/4 C milk
3 T butter

If you are making this meal right away, then preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Usually, I get this chopped/buttered/together in the morning, then put foil over the whole thing, throw it in the fridge, and put it in the oven an hour and a half before I want to serve it. Make sure your oven racks are on the lowest levels, or you will not have room for the chicken and you'll have to finagle them while they're smoking hot and your chicken is ready and you will undoubtedly burn yourself.
This is how we core the fennel, core the fennel, core the fennel
I do the veggies first. Chop them very roughly, into big chunks. Make sure you remove the fronds and the root-y type area from the fennel bulb first. And if you have never had fennel, you are MISSING OUT, DUDE. It is the Best Roast Veggie Evar.
Mmm. huge ol' chunks of fennel. These are going to be my favorite part.
Anyway, chop 'em all up, throw 'em in a roasting pan.
This was super easy but did require a knife so a three-year-old technically can't do it. YOU ARE SO ADULT!
Drizzle a little olive oil over the whole thing, then sprinkle it with a teaspoon or so of kosher salt and some pepper. Scatter about a third of your thyme branches over the veggies. THE VEGETABLES ARE READY. I know, so easy! So easy I can do it!
We are also pretty. Very, very, pretty. But not smart.
The chicken is slightly more difficult, but just barely. Take the giblets out of the cavity, then rinse the whole chicken, inside and out. If there are random chunks of skin or whatever, remove them so it looks like a chicken is supposed to look, not like Frankenstein. Make sure you kind of give it a once-over for any big feather quills that might have been missed.
Naked chicken!! It's NAKED!
Salt and pepper the inside of the chicken, then stuff the garlic and lemon inside with the thyme. Truss the leg bones (tie them together with string or do what I do, poke holes in the skin by the legs and pop each drumstick into the opposite side's skin. It works just as well, and doesn't leave the minty tang that dental floss does). Flip the wing tips under the body, then put the chicken on top of the veggies. I like to put the chicken on a rack over the vegetables, but I don't think it is necessary. Melt half a stick of butter in the microwave and pour the melted butter over the chicken, trying to coat all of the skin. The excess will go on the veggies which is totally fine. Salt and pepper it, then either put foil over the whole thing and put it in the fridge for later, or throw it in the oven.
It already looks good.
After you put the chicken in the oven, peel a few potatoes and a few cloves of garlic.
Yukon Gold, baby
Chop the potato roughly and put them with the whole cloves into a pot.
Tasty makers
Cover the potatoes with water, cover the pot, and put it on medium heat when the chicken's been in the oven for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, throw a few tablespoons of butter, a little splash of milk, and some thyme (not the branches, just the leaves) into a mixing bowl.
Fat fatty fat fat
When the potatoes mush apart when you push on them with a fork, they are ready-- it should be right around the time you pull out the chicken, which has to rest 20 minutes anyway. Drain them and throw them in the bowl. I know you're not supposed to do mashed potatoes this way, but eff that. They come out absolutely gorgeous and it is way easier than doing it by hand. Mix them on low just until everything comes together. You might need a dash more milk to make them the right consistency.
These are parfait, and I did nothing fussy to them.
Roast the chicken for 75-90 minutes at 425, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. It is possible that the chicken will be done after an hour-- this happened to me. Just take the chicken out, tent it with foil, and keep roasting the veggies for another 20 minutes or so. You should let the chicken sit for 20 minutes anyway, since it will do something sciency to help the meat retain its juices. Plus, you can drain off the juices from the veggies at this point and make gravy. Nom.
And there you have it, folks. Mashed potatoes. Veggies. Beautiful brown chicken. Gravy if you made it (juice from the pan, fat skimmed off, little bit of flour and butter, some milk/water, whisk it over high heat, BAM). EASY PEASY LEMON SQUEEZY.

1 comment:

  1. Sciency! More specifically, biochem-y! I know what happens there!

    Basically, as you heat up meat, muscle fibers contract as the proteins that make them up get stressed by heat - they denature, but not wholly irreversibly. As they contract, they force juices (composed of mostly melted fat) out into the spaces between muscle fibers. If you cut the meat while it's still hot, all that juice hanging out in between muscle fibers runs out and splashes all over your plate. If you let it rest and cool a bit, however, the muscle fibers relax some and reabsorb some of that juice - so that way, it stays in the meat until you start chewing it, wherupon it gushes the juice out all up in yo mouf, instead of all over on yo plate. The effect is more pronounced for steak (when it's cooked medium or lower) because the proteins don't denature to the same extent that the more hotly-cooked chicken and pork do.

    Also, another herb to consider for your potatoes; two sprigs of fresh rosemary, tossed into the pot at the start with the garlic and 'taters, the sticks fished out when they're done (the leaves will stay behind and be delicious). Nom.


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