Original and Practical Recipes. Inexpensive, Quick and Healthy.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Citrus Roast Chicken

Roast chicken and mashed potatoes is one of my favorite meals.  It is very tasty, it requires little time to prepare, and yields a lot of food.  Whole chickens are also very inexpensive, I paid about $5 per chicken.  Often I roast two chickens at a time because roasting an additional chicken doesn't require much more work.  Perhaps the best thing about roast chicken is the wide range of uses for the leftovers: soups, stocks, pot pies, salads, etc.  Last night I roasted 2 chickens so I can make soup over the weekend.  When winter starts I like to make a couple big batches of soup - I freeze most of it and enjoy it throughout the winter.

This recipe has evolved over time.  I started making roast chicken two years ago using a recipe from Giada.  Over time it has changed as I simplified the recipe and learned more about how to roast.  Based on online research, I rinsed and salted the chickens the night before, and left them in the fridge loosely covered in plastic wrap.  The secret to getting a nice crisp chicken is to allow the skin to dry after you rinse the chicken.  In the past I had always just patted the chicken dry and put it straight into the oven - which is still totally ok do to.  For me, I think it is a benefit to do some of the prep work the night before so I have less to do when I returned home from work.

I spent some time reading up on how to roast a chicken, and one thing I learned is that there are a lot of people out there who think they need to use a lot of butter to make roast chicken.  Some recipes called for entire sticks of butter.  This recipe only calls for a little olive oil, but is very favorful.

*This chicken makes a great gravy - I posted previously about how I make gravy.

You will need:
a Whole Chicken (giblets removed from the cavity)
2 Lemons
2 Oranges
3 cloves of garlic - loosely chopped
1 crushed clove of garlic
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Oregano
Salt (either sea salt or koscher)
White Wine
Chicken Stock or Broth

Step 1:
Remove the giblets from the cavity and throw away.  Remove any other packing materials.  Rise the chicken in cold water - both outside and inside the cavity.  Pat dry with a paper towel.  Generously salt the inside and outside of the chicken.

Optional Step 2:
Loosely cover the chicken with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.  You want the water from rinsing the chicken to evaporate.  You can leave the chicken in fridge for up to a day.

Step 3:
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degress.  Then slice 1 lemon and 1 orange.  Put 1 slice of lemon and 1 slice of orange aside.  Stuff the cavity with the rest of the lemon, orange, and garlic.  Use more or less lemon and orange depending on what will fit.  Then tie the legs together to help hold the citrus in place.  You can use butchers twine, or you can fold up aluminum fold and wrap it around the legs and twist together.

Step 4:
Place the chicken breast side up on a roasting pan.  Brush 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the chicken and then sprinkle with pepper.  Squeeze the lemon and orange slices that you set aside over the chicken.  Once the oven is preheated, place the chicken on a middle rack.

Step 5:
As the chicken roasts, you want to make sure that the pan drippings to not burn.  Add chicken broth and white wine to the bottom of the pan as necessary to prevent the drippings from burning.

Step 6: 
After the chicken is in the oven I create a mixture to baste the chicken with.  Squeeze the juice from 1 lemon and 1 orange.  Remove any seeds from the juice.  Mix the juices with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon oregano, and the crushed garlic. 

Step 7:
Baste the chicken every 20 minutes with the lemon and orange juice mixture.

Step 8:
The generally accepted cooking time for roast chicken is 20 minutes per pound.  Julia Child used the formula 45 minutes plus 7 minutes per pound of meat.  Regardless of the formula you decide to use, you need to cook the chicken until a meat thermometer placed in the inner thigh reads 170 degrees.

Step 9:
Remove the chicken from the roasting pan and tent with foil.  Use the drippings from the pan to make gravy.  Add any leftover basting mixture to the gravy.  Let the chicken sit for a total of 10 minutes before carving.

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