Thursday, February 7, 2013

Roasting Another Chicken.

For a long while I roasted chickens according to packaging directions; 350F for 20 minutes for each pound.  While the meat itself was moist, tender and very tasty, the skin was still pliable and fatty; we ended up pulling it off and feeding it to the pets.  Then I read a recipe where the cook roasted her chickens at 450F to 500F; the only seasoning used was salt.  The fat melted off the chicken and the skin was crispy, but she did warn that it caused a lot of splattering and smoking.  You know I had to play with this concept of roasting chicken.

After removing the organs from the cavity (the outdoor cats truly enjoyed that treat), I washed the chicken inside and out with cold water; then sprinkled a generous amount of salt also inside and out. Previously, I had lined a roasting pan with aluminum foil; poured 2 cups of water into the pan; sprayed the rack with nonstick spray and placed it inside the pan. Why the water? As the fat dripped into the pan, the water would keep it from splattering, burning and smoking from hitting the foil straight on. Placing the chicken on the rack, I drizzled a few tablespoons of olive oil over the top and just allowed it to slide down over the chicken. Now I have this Organic Saltless Seasoning that I enjoy using; 21 organically grown herbs and spices ground together and I rubbed another generous portion over the outside of the chicken, knowing the oil would hold it in place.

The oven temperature had been previously set at 450F; placed the pan inside the oven and waited for the internal temperature to reach 180F.  Where it used to take 2 1/2 to 3 hours for a 5 pound bird, it now only took 1 and 1/2 hours.  The fat had dripped into the pan and the skin was crispy; yet the seasoning mixture had only browned, not burned.  The flavoring permeated the meat which was tender, moist and very juicy. Removing the chicken from the pan onto a platter, I let it rest for 15 minutes before beginning to carve it.

I took advantage of the high temperature setting by mixing together chunks of potato and butternut squash, slices of onion, salt, Italian seasoning blend, minced garlic and olive oil. This mixture was placed in an aluminum baking pan and put into the oven at the same time as the chicken; it finished cooking while the chicken rested (an additional 15 minutes).

Actually, I made two chickens and one was given to my mother-in-law with a generous amount of the roasted veggies.  She was very pleased.

As to the smoking and splattering the other cook warned about, I experienced none of that and probably because of the water I had put into the pan.  If I wanted to have a gravy, I would have used chicken broth mixed with water; poured the after roasting liquid into a plastic container and placed it into the freezer until the fat rose and solidified.  At a firm, but not frozen, stage, I would have scooped off the solid fat and then made my gravy from the remaining liquid.

There you have it, roast chicken at a higher than recommended temperature, and it is so quick, easy and extremely delicious.  Enjoy!

Mary Cokenour