This is part one of a 3-part series on what to do with a whole chicken. I have to admit that the thought of cooking large cuts of meat or whole poultry scared me for the first part of my cooking career. It seemed very "Little House on the Prairie" in the days of boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a freezer bag. If you are intimidated by these types of meals, I highly recommend getting a meat thermometer. Mine came from a bridal shower gift (Thanks, Linda D.!) and it has seen a lot of use since. It gave me the confidence to know when the inside of the meat was to temperature so I could stop overcooking everything or sawing into every cut of the chicken to make sure it was cooked!
A note on this 3-part series: My husband HATES leftovers (with the exception of leftover pizza.) Unless I reinvent the leftover a little, he complains. I blame my mother-in-law for catering to his whining:) This is one way I found to serve Oven Roasted Chicken the first night, BBQ Chicken Sandwiches or Chicken and Dumplings the second night, and then have a ton of Chicken Stock leftover for White Chicken Chili or Potato Soup.
Serves 4, Cost per serving $.85
1 whole Kirkwood Chicken (Freezer Section) Thawed in fridge (takes about 24 hrs-so plan ahead)
Salt and Pepper
Yup-That's It! - you can get a lot fancier roasting a chicken with butters or oils, extra seasonings, vegetables, beer, etc. All are great options, but sometimes I like mine super simple so I can stretch the leftovers to a variety of meals without a lot of competing with other flavors.
If you want a complete meal, add:
4 carrots, peeled
4 small potatoes, quartered
2 celery stalks
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
1. Preheat oven to 375*
2. Rinse chicken on inside and out and pat dry with a paper towel. A note to first timers: there are bits inside the chicken like the liver, kidneys, and neck. Take those out and set them aside. You will notice that I have them in my pan to roast on the right-side. You can keep or toss - your choice.
3.Place chicken in a 9x13 or a roasting pan. If cooking with vegetables, arrange them in a medley on the bottom of the pan and place the chicken on top of them. Generously salt and pepper the outside and cavity (inside). Loosely cover the chicken with aluminum foil and bake for 30 min.
4. Uncover the chicken and baste it with the drippings. A note for first timers: Basting is like painting or drizzling the fats and liquids in the bottom of the pan back over the top of the bird. You can do this with a large spoon if you don't have a baster.
5. Continue cooking uncovered for another 15-30 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165* at the thickest part of the thigh-the big, meaty part below the drumstick.
You can cut into it however you like- don't get hung up on trying to carve it like the Thanksgiving turkey. Eats the same either way! Serve with the roasted vegetables or other side.