Friday, November 5, 2010

Fun in the Kitchen #5 - The Bird is the Word

Okay.  I went easy on you last week.  Four ingredients and a finished meal in 5 minutes?  Yeah.  That's pretty easy. Well, you're getting more this week.

Disclaimer: I'm not a chef, and I don't play one on TV.  I'm just an average dude that likes to goof around in the kitchen.  Be smart.  FULLY COOK YOUR MEAT.  If you make dumb choices in the kitchen, you're probably going to regret it.  Don't come crying to me after getting your stomach pumped.

Getting into cooking can be a scary proposition for some people.  The more ingredients you add to a recipe, the more intimidating it can get.  There's also something unsettling about tackling an entire animal, rather than just pieces of it.  I'll give you an example.  Anyone can grab a frozen chicken breast out of a bag, thaw it in the microwave and toss it on the Foreman grill for a few minutes.  There's nothing wrong with this.  It's easy.  It's safe.  Things get a little more complicated when you're dealing with a whole chicken.  This isn't just some chunk of meat.  This thing actually looks like a creature - albeit headless and featherless.

Today we'll be roasting a whole chicken.  Fear not.  We'll be fine.

Let's start with the ingredients.  This dish has a dry rub and a sauce that will be applied during the roasting.  Do you HAVE to use these specific ingredients?  Absolutely not.  Feel free to play around and experiment with whatever you like.
We've got one chicken, crushed red pepper, sage, butter, chili powder and ground coriander.
Oh.  And don't forget the side dish - potatoes & onions.
Red potatoes, onions, olive oil, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper.

The Chicken

We'll start by making a quick dry rub.  Chop up some sage - about 1 tablespoon, and fresh garlic - 2 cloves.  Don't worry if you can't get the fresh stuff.  A little dried sage and garlic powder can do the trick too.  Add to this a little crushed red pepper - 1/2 teaspoon, chili powder - 1 teaspoon, and ground coriander - 1/2 teaspoon. Mix it in a bowl and you've got a dry rub.  Now, you'll want to make two batches of this rub.  We'll use the 2nd batch later on while it's roasting.

This festive little pile is going to go under the chicken's skin.

This part is going to get a little messy.  You'll want to peel the skin away from the body of the bird.  You don't need to be gentle.  Just work your fingers in there and separate the skin from the muscles.  It'll slowly peel apart and you'll be able to reach most parts of our bird.  Just try not to break through the skin.  Then, work some of that dry rub into the space BETWEEN the skin and the muscles.  If you have any leftover rub, work it into the cavity (you know - up the 'butt').

Put the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan.  Then put the whole thing into an oven that's been pre-heated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and start a 30-minute timer.

If you look carefully, you can see the skewers I used to keep the wings pinned back and legs hugged tight against the booty.
To keep an eye on the temperature, I highly recommend using a model with a sensor that you can leave in.  Of course, you can always use a traditional thermometer.  Just get used to checking the temp every couple of minutes later on.
I set mine to go off when the thigh reached 180 degrees.

Potatoes 'n' Onions

While the chicken roasts, let's turn our attention to the side dish.  Chop up some potatoes.  In my case, it was just The Wife and I, so I did 4 red potatoes.  Try to keep the pieces smaller than 1" across.  Then, you'll want to chop up some onion - 1/4 cup,  Rosemary - 2 tablespoons and Thyme - 1 teaspoon.  Add to this some olive oil - 2 tablespoon, salt - big pinch and pepper - little pinch.  Mix everything together with the potatoes and they're ready to go into the oven.  I also chopped up 3 onions into larger chunks.

One Big Happy

Grab that 2nd batch of dry rub (see...I TOLD you we'd be using it again), melt half a stick of butter and mix it all together.  Once the chicken has been roasting for 30 minutes, slide it out of the oven and spread some of the butter-and-spice mixture over it.  One of those little wooden kitchen paint brushes works really well.  Before putting the chicken back in, spread your potatoes and onions around the base of the bird.  Slide it all back into the oven and set your timer for 60 minutes.

Okay.  That roasting pan is a little too big.  It's leftover from a Thanksgiving a couple years ago.  Hopefully, your chicken, potatoes and onions will be a little more cozy.

The next hour will be mostly waiting.  Although, if I were you, I'd start cleaning up your mess.  When you present your mate with with dinner, you want them to say "Hey.  Thanks for making me a delicious feast!", and not "Hey.  Lot at how dirty you made the kitchen!".

Every 20-minutes or so, paint on a little more of that butter 'n' spice mixture.  Once the thermometer reads 180, which for me took another 57 minutes, take the roasting pan out.  Resist the urge to yank a drumstick off of it Henry VIII style and let it sit for a few minutes.  While the bird cools, you can spoon out the potatoes and onions.

Oh yeah.  Nice and golden brown.
Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, it's time to clean it.  Cut out the legs and thighs - just aim the knife at the joints and the cuts will be easier.  I kept my drummies separate from the thighs, but it's just as easy to keep them connected.  Cut off the wings.  Then, flip the bird over and carve out the breasts.  Try to find the breastbone, then cut down into the bird on either side of it to take out the breasts.

Chicken, potatoes, onions and a bottle of 3-buck-Chuck.  This dinner is DONE.

There.  That wasn't so hard now, was it?  We went from raw animal to delicious meal.  Nice.

1 comment:

  1. No green veggies? Are you racist?

    And besides your dry rub, (which I'm sure was delectable), you know what works great to shove under the chicken skin?