Roast Chicken

When I placed the roast chicken on the table last night, dh declared “Wow, this looks like it should be in the pages of a food magazine, it looks that good!” With that kind of praise, I thought I would share the recipe. It’s from the book Saving Dinner Basics: How to Cook Even If You Don’t Know How by Leanne Ely. Last week I reviewed the book.

Roasting is an area I’m learning. Or rather “relearning.” “Roast Chicken” conjures images hovering around the oven, basting juices and the results are dry overcooked meat. Leanne Ely turns those ideas on their head. She says:

I don’t recommend basting. Ever. There is no earthly good reason to baste anything. Basting steals the heat, doesn’t improve the flavor, and causes you to cook something longer than you should.


And after different trials, I would have to agree with her. I made this recipe last night, with only a few minor changes. First of all, I didn’t make the gravy. I think dh would be in heaven if I would start making real gravy, but I’m an au jus type of gal. If wheat was allowed in our diet, I think I would be more willing to try, but I’m just not ready to embark on the allergy-free gravy test. I have a few other things to trial first.

Secondly, I didn’t use a roasting chicken. I used what was organic and on sale, and that was a fryer, I believe.

Thirdly, I drizzled a bit of olive oil before putting it in the oven, and I added some white wine to the pan towards the end of the cooking process for a flavorful gravy without the fuss.

So, now I can make a hands-free delicious roast chicken. Skin comes out a little crispy, just the way dh likes it.

Fabulous Roasting Chicken

1 roasting chicken (5-6 pounds), rinsed and patted dry
1 celery stalk, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 onion, quartered
1 carrot, cut into 2 inch pieces
Salt and pepper (I used Lawry’s Salt)
Garlic powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Rinse and pat dry chicken, putting aside the chicken neck.

Place celery stalk, onion, and carrot into the chicken cavity; place chicken in a roasting pan and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. (I used a Pampered Chef Stoneware casserole pan, which worked marvelously.) Depending on the size of the bird, it should take about 1 1/2 hours to roast. When the chicken is down, the leg will move easily in the socket. (I use a digital thermometer which also saves the oven heat and my worrying as to whether it is cooked.)

Gravy (optional)

chicken neck
1 carrot
1 celery stalk, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 onion, quartered
1 carrot, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon flour
1/3 cup water

While the chicken is cooking, place chicken neck and vegetables in a 2 quart stockpot. Cover with water and cook on low for 30 to 45 minutes to make additional stock for the gravy. Set aside.

Remove the bird from the roaster and keep warm. Pour the cooking juices out of the roast and into a bowl to cool. You can speed this process by putting the juice in the fridge or freezer; the fat will glob up on the top and then you can skim this nasty stuff off and throw it away. Return the de-fatted pan drippings to the roasting pan.

In a small mixing bowl, mix the flour and water into a smooth paste.

Heat the cooking juices, then add the neck stock and the flour-water paste. Using a wire whisk, whisk over a fairly high heat until mixture starts to look like gravy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a gravy boat. (Come to think of it, I don’t even own a gravy boat!)

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