Sorry I haven’t posted in a few days. We went to Texas to visit my parents and have a wedding reception. I did not eat so very healthfully while I was there. I tried to make Shepherd’s Pie last night to post, but I was not happy with how it turned out at all. So I’m going to have to re-do that recipe. But tonight I made one of our favorites: roast chicken.
When you suggest to most people that they roast a whole chicken, they will look at you funny. No one thinks to roast whole birds unless it is a holiday. But it is a delicious, and inexpensive (only 70 cents a lb, average $5 for the whole thing, at my store), way to make chicken. We also love the roast veggies. They are so flavorful and perfect for the fall.
I assume that all of you know the best way to chop an onion. But just in case, I thought that I would tell you here (because part of the process is involved in this recipe). First, cut your whole onion in half through the bottom part (with the roots dangling out) and the top where the green part grew out of. Cut off the top of it, but leave on the root part. Then take off the skin on the outside. Next, set it down on the cutting board, cut side down. Slice it long-ways, toward the root end. Do not cut it all the way to the root. Leave a little bit. That makes it much easier because it is all still attached at the end. Then you can cut it cross-ways to cut it into small pieces.
I also have another ingredient focus: parsnips. Ben and I tried them for the first time last fall with, I believe, roast chicken. They look like white carrots, and you can find them in your grocery store. After having them last year we decided to grow them in our garden. They are quite sweet, but have a very distinctive taste. They are fantastic for roasts, pot roasts, or stews. The roasting brings out the sugars and tempers the strength of the flavors. The same observations apply for the turnips. Here are the parsnips that I got out of our garden today. The one without the greens on top was HUGE! About 7 inches long and 2.5 inches across. I couldn’t pull it out by the greens, I had to dig it out with a shovel.
Those of you who are fat conscious will note that the veggies are at the bottom. You may think “but doesn’t that mean that the veggies will soak up all the fat that goes to the bottom?” Yes, normally. But I used a roasting pan with a rack that holds the bird up off the bottom. This also holds the veggies up off the bottom if you cut the veggies big enough. It’s a great way to avoid a lot of fat. That being said, the only way I could effectively get the veggies out was to dump them into the bottom of the pan and then take them out with a slotted spoon. So I added a point to each serving of roasted veggies in consideration of that. And since they weren’t soaking up the juices for the whole time, they aren’t too fatty.
You will have tons of left overs, so be ready with the Tupperware. But it’s also great to use for other recipes. You can use the veggies in salads, and the chicken can be used in so many things I won’t even try to list it. This is great to do on Sunday and munch on for the rest of the week.
Problem: my old recipe used a ton of butter that I mixed with herbs to put under the skin of the chicken.
Solution: This time I didn’t use any butter or oil at all, I just used a ton of herbs, a bit more salt, and citrus. It still turned out moist and delicious. And it saved TONS of points.
- 1 whole roasting chicken (size will vary depending on bird)
- 1/2 T chopped, fresh rosemary
- 1 T roughly chopped parsley
- 3 T roughly chopped sage
- 1 T fresh thyme, taken off the stem
- 1 tsp dried marjoram (I don’t grow it fresh)
- 2 tsp dried oregano (I do grow it, but I was out)
- 1 tsp dried tarragon (also dont’ grow it fresh)
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 orange, cut into slices cross-wise. Then the slices cut in half.
- 1 small lemon, ditto oranges.
- 2 slices of onion, as described above. Slice it lengthwise toward the root.
- More salt for the skin.
- Kitchen twine to tie up legs
- Thaw out your chicken. Put it on the rack that goes inside your roasting pan.
- Preheat your oven to 400-425 (depending on altitude)
- Mix all the herbs and salt together in a bowl.
- Run your fingers under the skin on both sides of the chicken to loosen it so that you can get things put underneath. You can also get into the legs of the chicken from each side of the bird.
- Put the herbs under the skin everywhere that you can reach on both sides of the bird. I found it easier to take a little bit and push it as far as I could under the skin, and then take another little bit and push it up near the last bit. You get the idea.
- After you have the herbs in, put in the citrus and the onions, alternating them. Don’t forget to get them into the legs. If you have any left over citrus you can put them in the cavity of the chicken.
- Take the salt and generously rub it into the skin. This helps the skin get nice and crispy for those with better metabolisms than us.
- Put the chicken and the rack into the roasting pan. Add the veggies below.
- 5 large carrots, peeled and sliced cross-wise.
- 2 good sized parsnips, peeled and slices cross-wise. Then cut the slices in half.
- 4 medium potatoes, cut into chunks as large as you like.
- 1 turnip, but into 1/2 pieces.
- 1.5 Tbsp chopped rosemary
- 1 Tbsp (or to taste of salt)
- Fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 Tbsp of fresh thyme
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Mix all of that together (you’ll need a large bowl for it, or you can do it in the roasting pan).
- Scatter it around the chicken over the rack.
Roasting Directions for all
- Put the chicken and veggies in the roasting pan, with the lid, into a pre-heated 400-425 oven.
- Let it roast for 45 min. Check to see how hot it is. Check the temp with a meat thermometer. Put it in between the leg and the body into the meat. Don’t let it touch the bone. It will be done at 165 deg. (I have found that 160 is fine too).
- For the last 15 min take off the cover so that it browns well.
- Take it out of the oven, and take the chicken out of the roast pan. Let it rest on a cutting board for at least 10 min to let it soak up the juices. (Be warned, it will leak a lot anyway.)