Monday, February 14, 2011

Rosemary Roasted Chicken

Love is in the air and this is my Valentine's Day gift to you. It is my favorite dinner to make and also my favorite dinner to eat. We were planning to go to the movies with my good friends Bob and Mairead one Saturday night and as Mairead and I were trying to finalize plans she asked, "What should we do for dinner?" Luckily, I had a chicken in the oven already. Am I a freakshow or what? I was planning to make and eat it with Mark and eat the leftovers all week (like I do almost every week), but we had them over to eat it instead. Impromptu dinner parties are my favorite because I get to drink more wine when we have company than I do when Mark and I are eating dinner alone. Also because it is a really nice way to relax with friends. This is a great thing to serve for company because it is simple and these are flavors that most everyone likes. Then the onions and potatoes cook in the chicken juices so that they are perfectly tender and flavorful. This is meal is best enjoyed with a simple side salad, a nice loaf of bread, and a crisp white wine (like a Sauvignon or Chenin Blanc). A whole roast chicken may seem intimidating to the uninitiated, but I promise you that it is so easy to make. You'll be so surprised and annoyed that you haven't tried it sooner!

Rosemary Roasted Chicken (Serves 4)
1 5-6 lb. chicken
1 lemon
1 large onion
1 large russet potato (or a few of another type)
3 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 tsp. dried rosemary
salt and pepper
olive oil

1. When I am working with raw meat (especially poultry) I try to keep the decks relatively clean. I do all my roasting pan set up first and then all I need to do is plop the chicken right in there. Slice the onion and scatter some in the center as a bed for the chicken. Chop the potato into bite sized pieces and lay some more onion and all of the potato pieces around the outside of your dish. Reserve about 2-3 pieces of onion to stuff inside the chicken.
2. Rinse the chicken thoroughly in cold water and discard the giblets. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel.
3. Sprinkle the chicken inside with salt and pepper. Slice the lemon into wedges and stuff the wedges, 2-3 onion slices, and the rosemary sprigs into the cavity of the chicken.
4. Lay the chicken down in the roasting pan so that the breast is facing up. Drizzle liberally with olive oil (about 1/4 cup) and sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Then sprinkle 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary leaves and the leaves from the 3rd sprig.
5. Cover the roasting dish with a lid or with foil and roast in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and remove the foil. The bird will be thoroughly steamed.
6. Return to the oven, uncovered, and turn the temperature up to 425. Cook for another 20-30 minutes until the skin is crispy and the chicken has an internal temperature of 165. If the juices run clear when you pierce the skin between the leg and the breast, you are good to go.
7. Allow to rest for 4-5 minutes so that you can handle it. I use tongs to pick up the chicken and place it on a cutting board. Remove the legs and wings. I remove the breasts in two large pieces and then I slice those pieces so that everyone gets some skin. Also, this is WAY easier than carving the bird on the bone.
I can't believe that it's taken me this long to post, but I really hope that you enjoy it...

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