Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Best Roast Chicken I've Had in a Year (at least)

One of the things I love most about winter cooking is roasting a gorgeous bird. As part of our New Year's resolution, Phil and I are trying to buy locally produced meat as often as possible. And if it's free range and antibiotic free to boot, even better!

So when he picked up a gorgeous Rowe Farms chicken last weekend, I knew we were in for a treat... I just didn't realize how amazing this bird was going to be.

I'd like to think it's a combination of this recipe and the bird's providence.

And don't get me started on the sandwiches we made throughout the week with the leftovers. The chicken was moist, perfectly salty and blow-your-mind-tasty. I swear to you, I've never cooked a bird like this before. It puts all those tiny little things you can buy at Loblaws to shame.

So, though this bird cost us 12$ as opposed to 8$, I think those extra 4$ were well worth it.

Two days after roasting it, I made chicken stock with the leftover carcass, some shallots, carrots celery and a bay leaf. After simmering away on the stove for 2 hours, we were left with an intensely chickeny stock. Gorgeous. We got a lot of meals out of that bird - not to mention two litres of stock sitting in my freezer right now!

Glorious Chicken
As a side note, this really is a great way to do potatoes. Cooking them first and throwing them in around the bird lets them soak up all those delicious juices (and fats) and get extra crispy in the oven. They're everything a roast potato should be!

Crisp Skinned Chicken with Rosemary Potatoes

(from Martha Stewart Living January 2011)


6 russet potatoes, peeled and cut crosswise, 3/4 inch thick
Coarse salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 whole chicken (about 4 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 small bunch fresh rosemary
3 sprigs fresh sage (my addition) 


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cook potatoes in salted boiling water until tender, 11 to 13 minutes. Drain. Return potatoes to pot, and shake over low heat to dry and fluff. Coat with oil, and season with salt. 

Mix together 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and the cornstarch. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Rub skin with butter, and season with salt mixture.
Close up of the butter and salt mixture.
Stuff some rosemary into cavity. Pile remaining rosemary on a rimmed baking sheet.

Place chicken, breast side up, on rosemary, and tuck wings under. Tie legs together with kitchen twine. Scatter potatoes around chicken. Roast for 30 minutes. 
Oven ready
Remove from oven, and flip potatoes. Return to oven, rotating sheet. Roast until chicken juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh reaches 165 degrees, about 30 minutes more. Let chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving. If potatoes aren't golden, toss with rosemary, and return to oven.

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