Tis’ the season to the chaos of family, friends, parties and presents. I noticed a few friends commenting on how the calendar put us at a disadvantage this year. Thanksgiving falls at the end of November leaving us a little less time than usual to make it to Christmas. Well, like many of you, I feel the same way! Planning becomes something I do for clients, but not for myself. Don’t forget if you’re having trouble with what to eat on Thanksgiving, follow this helpful guide.
This year, I decided to use the new STEP plan to my advantage in consideration of time AND my money. How? I can now cook a whole chicken or turkey at any time of the year and use that cooked meat to prepare a variety of easy meals. This week, I prepared a whole chicken in my oven, then used the picked-over carcass to make a big batch of homemade stock that I can freeze then use as needed. This week’s recipe demonstrates how easy it is to roast a whole chicken. The exact number of portions will depend on the size of your chicken, but what’s more important than what goes into the oven is what goes onto your plate, and that is four ounces of cooked meat, minus any bones or skin, depending on your specific plan.
Bonus: Cooking a whole chicken is cost effective. At a recent trip to the store, a whole chicken was about 20% the cost of chicken breasts. And the dark meat? So much more flavorful than white.
Whole Roasted Chicken Recipe and Ingredients
- 1/2 teaspoon Morton® Lite Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 free-range, organic roasting chicken, about 3-4 pounds
- 1 small red onion, cut into 8 pieces and divided
- 1 carrot, cut into four pieces
- 1 celery stalk, cut into four pieces
- 1 lemon, cut into quarters
- 2 tablespoons green onions, chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced, plus two additional whole sprigs of rosemary
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fig-balsamic vinegar
Remove neck and heart from cavity of chicken. Rinse chickens inside and out with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place chicken on a rack set in a roasting pan, breast side up.
In the roasting pan, add neck and heart along with the red onion, carrot, and celery. Add about a half-inch of water to the pan. Sprinkle half of salt and pepper inside of chicken cavity. Stuff the lemons into the cavity along with the sprig of rosemary.
In a food processor, combine green onions with butter, rosemary, lemon zest, and other half of salt and pepper. Process until well combined. Using fingers, gently loosen skin from chicken breasts, legs and thighs. Divide butter mixture between chickens and massage onto chicken meat, under the skin, using your fingers to distribute evenly.
Roast chicken in preheated oven for about one hour and 15 minutes, or until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175 degrees F. Add more water to pan if necessary.
When fully cooked, transfer chicken to cutting board and tent with foil to rest.
Place roasting pan on stovetop over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring and scraping any cooked on bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add vinegar and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Strain liquid and discard solids. Let rest for 10 minutes (use this time to carve your chickens). Use a spoon to remove any fat that has risen to the surface. Serve chicken with a tablespoon or two of sauce.
Makes roughly 4-6 servings
You can also use those chicken leftovers with our Turkey Sliders recipe.