IF you are going to roast a chicken on a Thursday in April in Texas, you may as well roast two of them. You also might as well do this roast chicken because it's cooked at 250 which hardly heats up a kitchen at all, even though it roasts for 5 hours.
This is one of my favourite 'go to' chicken dinners. Luckily, it's Connor's too! He is writing his 5th Grade TAKS (don't EVEN get me started!) test and when I suggested we go for a treat afterwards he grinned from ear to ear and leaned forward in the car - can we have roast chicken, mashed potatoes and minty peas for dinner?
You gotta love the 10 yr old (sorry, 11 in 3 days) who would rather get excited at the prospect of a homemade roast chicken dinner instead of a jaunt to the local ice cream store or local restaurant even. His wife may end up hating me but for now, I'm happy happy happy with his choices.
I take a chicken (or in this case, 2) and dig out their innards. I love disemboweling chickens and every time I do, I think of my friend who literally shudders at the thought. I keep saying I'm going to go and do an exhibition disemboweling, I need to get on that.
I need to interrupt and say the size of the bird really doesn't matter, these are 4lb'ers but it works with 3 and it works for 5. I've done as large as 6lbs with this method and it was delicious. Just get your standard .88/lb HEB roasting chicken and you'll be fine.
In any event, I don't rinse but I do pour out bloody juices, and season heavily with salt and pepper inside. I dig out the neck (today I got 3 necks for 2 chickens?! go figure, sometimes I just don't want to know) I yank the hunk of fat inside and dump it all in a bowl for using in a little bit. Nothing gets tossed at my house. I lop off the little nubby end of the drumsticks. There are tendons in there that when the bird is completely cooked you can see much clearer and they just slip out. It's a little trick with turkey too. The nubs are tossed into the bowl'o'bits. I dry the birds and season !!liberally!! with whatever spices I have to have a hankering for.
I have half a lemon in each one as well as half an onion. For the outside, today is kosher salt, cracked black pepper, poultry seasoning, tarragon, thyme and paprika. I drizzle with a little oil, just a little, and rub it all in well. You can do this point the night before, wrap the chicken well and pop it in the fridge. Put in the oven the next day and dinner's done!
Back to mine, the birds are on a rack because there's a load of liquid that comes out and I don't want them stewing in it. I chopped a couple small onions to put around, with skins on because it adds to the color of the broth/gravy.
I let them sit there while I get the rest of it organized. I have an enormous pot of peeled potatoes that'll mash later and now to the bowl of ick!
I take the fat I pulled out of the bird, melt it in a little pan and fry up all the bits of bone ends and innards...fry it till it's beautifully brown then toss in one carrot and one stalk of celery and fry that for a moment then cover with water and simmer for a really long time. A little pepper and salt and a bay leaf just helps it all along.
I simmer it for as long as I'm sitting in the general vicinity. Refill with water as it evaporates away and the smell of thanksgiving in your house will be fabulous on a Thursday morning.
It's 11:30 now so the birds are going in the bottom oven, set to 250. Do NOT OPEN THE DOOR until 4:45 under ANY circumstances. Trust me. The birds are going to be happy and we'll check later.
Dinner, done :) If you just wanted a salad with it, which is lovely, you don't have to do the giblets of course, skim the liquid that comes off these birds and use that in your vinaigrette is divine! Today though, is roast dinner with all the trimmings for kiddo so a light roast chicken and salad evening is out the window. (we may use bird 2 for that ;))
So I strained my stock, added my separated drippings...made a quick roux
I boiled the heck out of it for a bit and, it's rather good! The birds have rested and are much happier too
I mashed some potatoes, nuked the peas with some fresh sprigs of mint and it's sit down to a roast dinner mid week to celebrate the last elementary school test you have to take kiddo!
So, this is how my 10 yr old celebrates his final test day and I think it's a fine choice. Sure, it's 5 hour chicken but it's unattended hours and I think everyone should make it. It's tender, delicious, easy. The skin is crispy, flavorful and makes everyone happy.
Thanks for joining us for dinner but it's time for us to eat! I really hope you try it!