Re: Cooking Time
OK. So, in this world, too many people go around buying chick breasts or thighs and totally miss out on the awesomeness of chicken. Really - the whole bird. Over the next little while I'll write up three meals (+leftovers depending on who you are feeding) from one whole chicken. And they are all pretty easy.
There will be no real recipe style because I just know how to do this because my mum taught family studies, so I was able to pick up shit I needed from home... like how to sew on a button. Useful.
Part 1: Roast chicken and fixings.
Potatoes (as you many as you would like)
a few garlic cloves
2 slices of bread (depends bird and I prefer whole grain)
First off - if you haven't heard of salmonella, who are you? When handling chicken wash your hand regularly and don't use any utensils or cutting boards on anything else unless washed as well.
Get yourself a whole chicken. A 3-4 pound one shouldn't run you too much money, but if you have a larger group to feed, you're going to want a bigger bird... at which point you should probably just do a turkey, but whatever.
Depending on where you get the bird, you may be fortunate enough to get the giblets, too. For those who have no clue, the giblets the tasty organs like the liver, gizzard and heart. They should be in a little paper bag on the inside of the bird. Remove them but DON'T throw them out. Put them in the fridge or freezer for later. Seriously - this is good stuff right here. Some cultures will fry them up for eating. I don't, but one day, maybe I will. They will be good for part 2.
Preheat Oven to 375F.
It works best if you have the chicken out to warm to room temperature for cooking, but at the very least, do not cook a frozen bird. Wash your chicken briefly in cold water. If you want to stuff your bird, the stuffing recipe is pretty straight forward - chop bread, onion and garlic plus whatever seasoning you like and shove it in the bird. Salt pepper oregano rosemary and sage is a pretty classic one, but feel free to try whatever you know. You can rub the chicken to add to the flavour. Softened butter plus seasoning is nice. Some people also wrap the breasts in bacon - because bacon is awesome and the grease is tasty.
Place the bird in a roasting pan, breast side up (if you don't know because you are young, the breasts are the large meaty portions of a bird). Surround with potatoes, washed and quartered, and a few onions halfed. You can also add a few garlic cloves but make sure they are on top of the potatoes - direct contact with the pan can burn them. You can also just toss in a whole head with skin on and then just peel beautiful soft garlic cloves during dinner (this also goes really well with cheese and crackers/toast).
Cook the chicken for 20 minutes per pound plus a pound (i.e. another 20 minutes or so). After this time, the chicken may or may not be done. Use a meat thermometer (they aren't expensive and you don't need any space age tech here), but lacking that there are a few things you can do:
- when fully cooked, the legs of the chicken will be very loose. They should almost be ready to be torn off... which you could do at the dinner table to be rude but amusing.
- puncture the meat of the chicken. Some juices will come out. If they are clear, that's a good sign. If pink/red, it isn't done yet.
- slice in to it. The meat should be white, but do this only as a last resort. If you need to cook some more, it'll dry out that section.
If the potatoes aren't done, you cut them too big. ;-) You can pull out the chicken, tent it for a while so they can finish. This keeps the chicken warm and finishes any cooking (the bird is hot enough to cook itself). If you are having a fancy meal, you could steam some broccoli with lemon or fry green beans or something. Just another vegetable. Salad if you like. Boom, classy meal.
Yeah, it sounds like a lot, but it only really takes about 30 minutes to prepare if you have everything on hand. Does well for Sunday meal because then you can eat leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day.