I may have mentioned, at one time or another, that one of my most favorite comfort food dishes is roasted chicken and vegetables. I bought a chicken last week, and decided that this Saturday would be a good day for it.
Here we go:
It is a simple dish, and can be amended to suit virtually any taste (unless, of course, you are a vegetarian).
I started with Fennel, baby Yukon gold potatoes, baby carrots (those two items figure heavily in Gunfighter cuisine... have you noticed?), two large red onions, garlic, red pepper paste, dill, salt, and Italian dressing.
I also used some Jamaican Jerk seasoning for the chicken's skin. I'm not much of a chicken skin fan, but Mrs. G loves a crispy chicken skin... so there you are. I try to be accommodating.
As always, before I get started, I have to find my music of the day. Today's cd's are wildly different, but they suit the audience at particular times. I am starting with this: "We Sold Our Soul For Rock and Roll", the classic Black Sabbath compilation... from back in the days when Ozzy Osbourne still fronted the band... and before he became a television star.
When I said that music varies for the audience, I wasn't kidding. You see, the best time for me to crank my Ozzy tunes is when Mrs G isn't home yet... and she wasn't!
Rock on, loudly!
As with most of the things that I cook, this dish starts out with the obligatory slicing and dicing of potatoes:
...and fennel (just the white part).
Add the carrots, some dill, garlic, and red pepper flakes (to taste). Add a table spoon (or two) of Italian dressing and toss:
Thoroughly rinse your chicken and pat dry with paper towels.
On a cutting board, rub a bit of salt (I use the coarse Kosher salt)...
In the chicken's cavity, then rub the chicken's skin with a tiny bit of olive oil (or other flavored oil if you prefer). Don't forget to oil the wing tips, or they'll burn almost instantly. Next, rub the chicken with whatever seasonings you like... today, I'll be using Jamaican Jerk seasoning.
Take your lemon, cut it in half, and push it into the cavity.
***Pause here to bang your head while "Iron Man" blasts from the stereo***
I usually use a stand-up roaster when I cook a chicken. If you have never used one, I suggest giving it a try. They aren't expensive, and if you are careful of your fat intake, this will help a bit. With one of these little doohickeys, the juices from the roasting chicken run into your pan, and you chicken doesn't wallow in them.
Place the roaster in the roasting pan... I usually use a foil pan... saves lots of cleanup work, and spread the tossed vegetables in a single layer (if you can) in the pan.
take a sheet of aluminum foil and make a tent over the chicken. The foil will keep the direct heat off the skin. Remember, You will be cooking at high heat, so you don't want the skin to cook too quickly.
Put the chicken in the oven, and roast 25 minutes at 500 degrees.
After 25 minutes, remove the foil, reduce the temperature to 425, baste, stir the veggies and continue to roast. If there isn't enough pan juice to paste the chicken, try adding a splash of sherry. If you don't have/won't have any sherry, use a splash of chicken broth.
I have to change the cd now, Mrs G is home, and isn't really into Sabbath. I convinced her to listen to the metal perfect that is "Fairies Wear Boots"...
...and then put on the new Jane Monheit cd...
...called "Surrender". Go out and buy it today!
Anyway, listening to Jane Monheit is ALMOST as good as listening to Ozzy. She has a beautiful voice. We saw her perform live at The Birchmere two years ago, and she was great!
Hold the presses! When I went to the Birchmere's website so I could link it for you, I saw that two of our favorite acts are going to be appearing later in the year. Jane Monheit will be BACK at the Birchmere on August 10th and Tuck & Patti will be there October 20th.
Oy... have you put your chicken back in the oven? Good!, go have a glass of wine, with someone you love.... and spend another 30 minutes listening to music and/or reading.
OK, baste, stir, etc... as needed from time to time until your chicken looks done. If it looks done, insert a meat thermometer into the chicken's thigh, and make sure that the internal temperature reaches at least 180 degrees. Your total cooking time will take about ninety minutes (depending on the size of the chicken).
I prefer using smaller chickens... I think that they are more flavorful.
After you remove the chicken from the pan, let it rest for about 10 minutes before you carve it. During that 10 minutes, return the oven to 450 degrees, and put the vegetables back in... if you like , grate some cheese over them and let that melt (I used gorganzola).
Here is your end result.
Carve, serve, enjoy.