Roast Chicken 2 Ways

April 8, 2016

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I’m so excited to be back posting on THO again! It feels like catching up with an old friend. I have been working on my food memoir since October, and I am happy to share that I submitted half of my book to my agents and they liked it! After a few edits they are going to start sending it out. It is also SO nerve-wracking to send out a manuscript, but I have loved reading food memoirs lately so they really inspired me. So, here is to hoping that I can write the second half as fast as possible (or, at least before the kids are out of school!).

Writing about good food has made me miss blogging about it for sure. In honor of resurrecting this space, I am kicking it old school, and re-creating one of the dishes that absolutely made me fall in love with cooking: Roast Chicken. I have heard from so many people that they don’t know where to start in the kitchen, so I just wanted to show you where I started: Julia Child’s roast chicken – it is so easy & so good. If you are already well versed in making this dish, here are two versions to keep it interesting.

  1. The Roast –

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My daughter just calls this ‘favorite chicken’.  All my kids love the wings and legs. My husband likes the meat sliced with gravy on top. I love it that way too. But sometimes I am in the mood for:

2. The Roast Chicken Goat Cheese Salad –

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There is just something about pairing this roast chicken with a salad with goat cheese and champagne vinegrette (and a cold white wine, of course). I actually took the bits of veggies in the pan and scooped them onto the salad. I may have even drizzled a little of the gravy on there too.

Here’s why you want to make this: It teaches you how to roast anything, just adjusting for size and doneness, and then how to make a gravy with the drippings. 

When I first started cooking, I followed Julia’s master recipe. Now, I just lay the bird on a cookie sheet. I like to cook it breast side down so that all the juices run down into the breast. If you like eating chicken breast with roasted skin on it, you’ll want to roast it on the back.  If you want to get fancy, you can learn how to truss the chicken here. But the point is: roasted chicken doesn’t have to be fussy. It can be totally messy and lazy and it will still taste good. I usually just tuck the wings and legs into the body so they don’t dry out.

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I am becoming a big fan of cooking everything on a roasting sheet. See all those browned drippings? Add chicken broth (you can also add white wine), scrap them up, add a pat of butter, salt and pepper to taste, and the gravy is done.

I can’t wait to share some of the other adventures I have had in the kitchen while I was away, but for now I will leave you to your weekend, and hope it is a great one. Thanks for reading! xo Katie

Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken (printer version here): 

One 3-4 lb. chicken

2 T. softened butter

10-12 thyme stems

1 lemon

2-3 garlic cloves

2 carrots, chopped

1 onion, chopped

For gravy:

½ Tbs. minced shallot or green onion

1 cup chicken stock

2 T. softened butter

Preheat oven to 425.

Sprinkle inside of chicken with salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon butter. Slice lemon in half and add to cavity, along with 10-12 stems of thyme and 2-3 garlic cloves. Truss chicken if desired.

Scatter carrots and onion on sheet pan and place chicken on top. Coat outside of chicken with remaining tablespoon of butter, and sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt and ½ pepper.

Roast at 425 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350. (Julia says to turn chicken every 15 minutes but I don’t do this and it turns out fine). Cook for another 60-65 minutes, basting every 15 minutes, until inside registered at 165 or juices run clear.  Let rest at least 10 minutes so juices redistribute before carving.

To make gravy:
Place pan over high heat, and add shallots, cooking for 1 minute. Add chicken stock and boil rapidly, whisking to picking up brown bits. If you have time, let it reduce by half, otherwise just stir in butter, then serve over slices of roast chicken.

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