While the title might be a slight exaggeration, I DID promise you a log about how to pull a zillion meals out of a silly little 4 lb roasting chicken. So here we go!
On Friday night, I promise my sweetie a home-cooked meal... it was dreary and gross out, rainy and overcast... I'd had a wonderfully productive day, and had enough time to run through the grocery store quickly. A day this blustery calls for comfort food... and what is more comforting than a savory roasted chicken.
I roast chicken quite frequently, usually stuffing the bird with various aromatics (lemon, garlic, shallot, basil, onion, carrot, celery, etc), sprinkling with salt and pepper and patting with a bit of EVOO before slow roasting it -- usually 90 minutes at about 375.
BUT, I was anxious to try a new recipe I'd been hearing about on various food blogs -- Thomas Keller's simply roast chicken.
I'm not even kidding -- I elected to add some fresh thyme that I had on hand, but it really *is* that simple...
...and it really *IS* that good.
First, rinse out the bird and pat dry -- I mean, REALLY dry -- with paper towels.
Next -- salt and pepper cavity of the chicken.
Then -- truss the legs. I had never done this before, but it was REALLY easy and there are a lot of instructions online (google "how to truss a chicken"). Trussing the bird keeps it really dry inside -- which you would think would be a bad thing, but wetness makes the chicken steam itself, rather than a nice dry roast. So. Trussing it is!
Once the bird is trussed... use about a TBSP of salt on the outside of the bird. I like kosher salt.
Preheat oven to 450.
Place in roasting pan.
Cook for an hour.
Once the bird is cooked, remove from oven and let it sit for about 15 minutes, basting with the pan juices if you so desire.
Best. Chicken. Ever.
About 15 minutes before the chicken was done cooking, I threw in a cookie sheet of fingerling potatoes, and a mixture of carrots, asparagus, and shallots... both were tossed in EVOO, salt, pepper, and a bit of garlic.
When I took the chicken out to rest, I turned the temp on the oven down to about 400 and let the vegetables and potatoes roast a little longer.
(A note: have you ever roasted carrots with the skin on? If not, I highly recommend -- it's like a whole different vegetable, with the peel firming up just a bit and the inside turning creamy.)
From start to finish -- a gorgeous dinner, from grocery bag to table in just 60 minutes (including some down time to watch the news!)
What you didn't see above is that I saved the chicken carcass, and after we were finished eating, set aside what we hadn't used.
I put all the remnants in the fridge and called it a night.
Today, Sunday, I woke up and got crackin' --
First, I picked all the good meat off the remaining pieces of chicken -- and then put the carcass and bones, skin, etc all into a soup kettle. After bringing the water to a boil, I reduced to simmer. It will simmer for a total of about 4 hours.
Next, I assembled the ingredients to make a week's worth of lunch: harvest chicken salad.
I chopped up 4 scallions, a few ribs of celery, and a large, sweet honeycrisp apple.
Mixed in a large bowl with the chicken (picked over to remove any icky stuff, and shredded into small pieces), and some mayo -- I like the lite variety, made with EVOO.
Next up, I pulled out the leftover fingerling potatoes... chopped them up, mixed with a wee bit of chopped celery, and a mixture of evoo, red wine vinegar, chopped shallot, dill, dijon mustard, lemon zest, and a pinch of sugar...
My soup stock is still simmering away on the stove -- I'm skimming fat off the top every half hour or so, and when it is done, I'll drain the kettle (you must drain it WELL to avoid any bones), and return to the stove, adding chopped carrots, celery, onion, a bit of salt and pepper, and noodles. This can be eaten immediately, or frozen for future use. Since its cold season here in MN, I'm thinkin' it won't last long.
So there you have it:
Dinner for two, 5 days worth of lunch, and a kettle of soup.
All cuz of one little chicken*.
And now, back to my stock.
Off and running**,
PS: I'm back from my run now, and have finished the soup -- I added noodles, salt, pepper, garlic salt, a bay leaf, celery and carrots. AND and is "OMG AMAZING." HOT, salty, and is warming me right now. ALSO, there was still a ton of meat on those bones, so after I'd boiled them for 4 hours, I now have a lovely CHICKEN noodle soup... that bird got USED.
*For the sake of full disclosure: I also had to buy the fingerling potatoes, but I had every other ingredient on hand***: garlic, shallots, olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh thyme -- and for the leftovers: an apple, celery, scallions, shallot, mayo, dijon, dill, vinegar & a pinch of sugar.
**Now that my work in the kitchen is done, it's time to go MOVE -- beautiful crisp fall day, perfect for a run.
***Perhaps this is the foreshadowing of the next post -- how to shop effectively and stock your kitchen!