Hello, my fellow cooking enthusiasts! or the not so enthusiastic who are currently trapped at home attempting to feed your ravenous families.
I know it’s now practically summer but I’ve fallen back on a lot of roasting to keep the bottomless pit that is my husband, Rob, from wasting away.
Seriously, sometimes I hate this man, he’s losing weight in quarantine!! we haven’t had an exercise more vigorous than a walk around our neighborhood in SIX WEEKS!
Anyway, keeping my darling husband from wasting way to a scarecrow of a man is my new goal in life. to that end. Roasts! they’re easy and simple and the veggies you need keep for ages in the fridge or pantry.
Now I am not a big believer in meat thermometers or pulling meat as soon as it’s 165 degrees or whatever nonsense people are always on about for “moist poultry”. I don’t bother with brines or any other fancy marinades or bastes unless it’s a high holiday.
I don’t bother with meat that isn’t fall off the bone tender and melt in the mouth. For me, that means low and slow. It’s nearly impossible to mess up.
So this month’s Kitchen Disaster
Herb Butter Slow Roasted Chicken with Root Veggies
1 whole chicken (can also be done with bone-in chicken thighs, I don’t recommend preparing breasts this way, you need dark meat with a bit of fat, if you use thighs reduce time to 2-3 hours)
Root Veggies of your choice enough to fill the bottom of your favorite casserole dish I have been using sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onions, garlic, and celeriac, really anything will do, just make sure you have plenty of alliums. onions if you like lovely caramelized onions, garlic if roasted garlic is more your thing. both if you wanna go absolutely feral.
1/4 cup melted butter or olive oil if you’re feeling health-conscious
chopped/dried herbs of your choice – I have a big herb garden, I’ve done this with rosemary, cilantro, dill, oregano, sage, and those lovely dried poultry seasoning mixes. all good.
1-2 tbsp salt (I use kosher you can use whatever you have it’s really hard to oversalt a whole roast chicken)
1-3 tsp black pepper (or whatever pepper you like, I’ve done this with paprika and once, on accident cayenne… that was a fun time- if you do elect to go spicy with this might I recommend adding a splash of vinegar and a tablespoon of honey? it really brings out the spice)
Preheat oven to 250 F. Move oven rack to the middle
Peel/chop/prep your root veggies and onions and garlic, spread across the bottom of your oven-safe casserole dish. toss with a bit of butter/oil/spices you planned to put on the bird. remember to save your peels and veggie scraps. remember at the end of this dinner you’re going to have a lot of roasted chicken bones that will make a delicious stock, you can add all the veggie scraps to it. I freeze all my veggie scraps till I’m in a stock making mood.
if you have a roasting rack that fits on the top of your pan now is the time for it! I have a weird little chicken wire contraption that came with my Wok, it means the bottom of my bird gets crispy too if you don’t have this that’ s fine set the bird straight on the root veggies, its all gonna work out fine
Now pull out your hopefully thawed chicken. Do not be like me, the Kitchen Disaster, and believe the internet when it tells you, a whole frozen chicken takes 24 hours to thaw. put that baby in the fridge 2-3 days in advance! Otherwise, you will be like me and have to spend 3 hours moving your bird through various changes of cold water in your sink praying you’ll have dinner tonight. well… hopefully, dear reader you’re more on top of your life.
Take your whole chicken to the sink. Rinse it under cold running water, set aside any giblets or neck bones for your stock making adventure later (next month I’ll explain how I make stock)
Pat dry with paper towels, or don’t if paper towels are a rare commodity in your area, it really doesn’t matter it just helps the oil stick to the bird a bit better. now sprinkle your bird generously inside and outside with salt, pepper, and herbs, throw a few chunks of garlic or onion or herbs inside for good measure.
Stick your seasoned bird BREAST SIDE DOWN on your rack or on top of your root vegetables. cover the entire pan with tin foil and put it into your oven for 4-5 hours.
YUP. 4-5 hours. low and slow.
When you have around 25-30 minute left remove the foil and flip your bird over, so it is breast side up. baste with drippings from the bottom of the pan if you like. set your oven to braise and crisp up your skin watching carefully so it doesn’t burn, but frankly crispy burnt chicken skin is amazing.
Pull it out of the oven and let it rest 10 minutes before serving.
If you like gravy while you let the chicken rest pull out your lovely oven roasted veggies to another plate, and pour/scrape the drippings and caramelized onions and garlic into a small pan on the stove, rinse the baking pan with 1/4 cup or so hot water to deglaze it a bit, add that to the pan on the stove, put the pan on medium heat in a cup mix 2-3 tbsps of flour/cornstarch with cold water, pour carefully into your pan while mixing, try not to let the lumps get in but don’t worry about it too much. if it’s too lumpy remember an immersion blender covers all sins of gravy making. Simmer your gravy for at least 3 minutes to cook any e coli out of your flour.
Dinner is served! carve into that delectable slow-roasted chicken and enjoy your oven-roasted veggies all smothered in gravy.
Kitchen Disaster End Notes:
The worst kitchen disaster I ran into with this particular recipe was the time I blanked on how long it takes to thaw a whole chicken in the fridge. I had this meal planned for Sunday night, I put the chicken from the freezer to the fridge on FRIDAY. Sunday morning I poked my chicken only to discover it was still rock hard. no worries. I whipped up some quick spaghetti for Saturday night and shifted Chicken roast to Monday night. Monday morning, chicken check. Still, rock hard, somehow?? not sure fairies weren’t involved at this point. Made mac and cheese with hotdogs to tide us over until Tuesday night. Tuesday morning chicken check, MY CHICKEN WAS STILL COVERED IN FROST. So in a blind rage, I spent 3 hours thawing it in my sink covered in successive changes of cold water.
So friends, don’t be me. 1) make sure you give your chicken plenty of time to thaw. and 2) make sure you don’t have a cold spot in your fridge where things can freeze. Because it was either that or I have an ice demon living in the bottom drawer of my fridge.
Check back next month for my post on stock making to really make your quarantine meals stretch, and because homemade soup stock is really really good.
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