Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Oh, how I love you Ina Garten

Okay, so the cat is out of the bag. I LOVE Ina Garten. She is (one of) my food idols. Her manner of cooking is just what I like.. simple, fresh ingredients made into simple, delicious food. I have been a devotee of hers for not even a year, but I own all her cookbooks, have just about every recipe of hers on FoodNetwork.com saved to my recipe box and at one point was cooking her food every night. My husband, Mike, didn't even have to ask where I got the recipes during those months. I would just use the word "she or "her" and he would know who I was talking about.

Since last fall and winter, I have laid off making her food EVERY night, but out of that phase came a bunch of recipes that I now consider staples in our house. Which brings me to today's recipe..... The Perfect Roast Chicken. Okay, so it really isn't roasting season anymore but I felt the need to share this one today in honor of my friend Erin. A few weeks (maybe months.. ahem....) ago Erin was over at my house for a playdate with her cute little Katherine. While the kids were playing we were talking about, what else but, food!!! I was listening to Erin tell me that she wanted to learn how to cook and grilling her on what they eat a lot of in her house. Rotisserie chicken was one of those things that Erin found herself buying when she needed a simple meal for her family. Alethia (well actually Ina) to the rescue!!!

So I sent Erin home with what I think is the simplest, most moist and delicious chicken recipe I have ever cooked. It really is so good. The best part (besides how good it tastes when you make your own chicken) is that you then have this flavorful carcass (sorry, that is what it is.. ) to use to make your own chicken stock. No need to buy it in a box or can from here on out... with a few other simple ingredients that a lot of us having laying around the house at any given time, you can make and then freeze your own chicken stock! Talk about getting the most out of your food!

Ina's Perfect Roast Chicken
serves 3 to 4

1 4-5 pound roasting chicken ( I use either organic or Bell & Evans)
2-3 large yellow onions, sliced
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 lemons- quartered
2 Tbs unsalted butter- melted

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Remove giblets (bag inside the chicken) and wash the chicken inside and out. Pat dry with a paper towel. Toss the onions with some olive oil and place in the bottom of your roasting pan/dish. Rub the chicken with the melted butter and sprinkle GENEROUSLY with salt and pepper, inside and out. Place the lemon quarters inside the chicken (you will have to really shove them in there!). Place chicken in roasting pan on top of the onions. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.

Roast for 1 hour 15 minutes (check if ready by cutting between the leg and thigh. The juice that comes out should be clear.) Remove from oven and cover entire pan tightly with tin foil (the chicken will continue to cook while it rests and soak up some of the pan juices. This step is really important for moist chicken!!!). Let sit for 15 minutes. Slice the chicken and serve with the browned onions. I also like to serve this with sauteed broccoli rabe and garlic mashed potatoes. Don't forget to squeeze some of the roasted lemons on top of everything... they make this chicken extra delicious!

Homemade Chicken Stock
makes 2-3 quarts

Roasted chicken bones from recipe above (or rotisserie chicken if you must..)
3-4 carrots unpeeled and chopped into thirds
6-7 stalk of celery with leaves chopped into thirds
2 large onions, with the skin still on chopped in quarters
15 sprigs fresh parsley
10 sprigs fresh thyme
15 sprigs fresh dill
1 head of garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise
10 whole peppercorns
1 or 2 Tbs kosher salt (to taste)

Place all ingredients in a large stock pot or dutch oven ( I use a 9 quart for this, but you could use bigger). Fill pot with enough water to cover everything. Cover pot, place on burner and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, remove lid and lower heat to medium low (to maintain a gentle simmer). Cook for 2 1/2 hours (you could cook it for longer if you like but I do it this way because the flavor is still good, but I get more stock.)

Strain stock into a large bowl and allow to cool. Discard the bones and veggies. I like to put it in the refrigerator overnight and get it nice and cool before I put it into my plastic quart containers, but you can put it in warm if you like. This keeps for a few weeks in the refrigerator, but I almost always freeze mine. I always have a supply of homemade stock on hand. You'll be amazed at how much better your soups, rices and pot pies taste!

Note- This chicken stock can really be made with just about anything you have in your produce drawer. You could throw in turnips or parsnips, any kind of root vegetable, etc. It is a great way to use up produce before it goes bad. Same goes for the herbs... you could really use whatever you have. I have used oregano, rosemary and tarragon at one time or another. You could also make vegetable stock by omitting the chicken and adding additional vegetables. Lots of options here for getting the most out food just sitting around in your refrigerator.

1 comment:

  1. The good, the bad and the sad:

    Good: Ok so I did not set the kitchen on fire and no one woke up with food poisioning.

    Bad: I have a horrible head cold so can not taste or smell ANYTHING! My hubby swears the chicken was great and my picky daughter ate it so I am kinda going on that.

    Sad: So since I was so ill yet made dinner my hubby offered to clean up- I told him just leave the chicken and I would take care of it hoping to attempt to make some stock today if I could find the energy. Well not knowing my plans because I guess he cant mind read (as if!) he wanted to "help" so took off all meat and tossed the rest :-( which I didnt realize until I was headed to bed last night. sigh. so will attempt stock next time...but man really could use it with this head cold of mine!

    This was not as scary as I thought it would be. I envisioned more drama. :-} Ready for my next lesson!