Sunday, April 17, 2011

Super Easy Roasted Chicken!

It’s official – I love love LOVE Mark Bittman.  I also love his book How to Cook Everything: 2000 Simple Recipes for Great Food.  You may recall that the book was recommended to me by my friend Nan (at Yambo: Yet Another Mommy Blog) and that from it I had pulled the granola and bread recipes that I am now making on a regular basis.

Last night I pulled it out in order to roast a whole chicken.

What I especially love about his recipes is that he not only gives you a recipe, he gives you a list of variations you can make – and so the recipe I ended up using was for herb roasted chicken and oh my goodness, it could not be easier!

Anyhow, it starts with a cast iron frying pan (yes, you read that correctly!) and a VERY hot oven – 450*F. The instructions say to heat the pan and then just place the bird, breast up, in the pan when it’s hot. After half the cooking time is done (25 minutes in this case) I spooned a mixture of olive oil and herbs over the bird and then put it back into the oven and cook for another 25 minutes. The recipe actually calls for fresh herbs, but courtesy of my girlfriend Megan who is currently living in Paris (and posting about it in her blog, Postings from Paris) I have a bag of Herbes de Province – and so THIS is what I used.

When I put the bird into the pan it started making a delicious sizzling noise right away.  Amazingly enough, nothing stuck to my cast iron frying pan - clean-up was ridiculously easy.  I'm guessing that this is because my cast iron frying pan has been cured and well cared for over the years.  I used my BBQ fork straight into the cavity to lift it out of the pan and then spooned out most of the drippings and grease and made the gravy right in the frying pan - no additional dirty dishes!  Usually, when I use a roasting pan, I have to make the gravy in a different pot.  If I had been making a lot, or cooking a larger bird, I can see how the cast iron pan might not be the best utensil to use, but for a smallish bird, this is pretty much perfect.

The fast hot cook made me a GORGEOUSLY juicy bird – with LOADS of drippings (which I have saved for gravy) and sweet juicy meat.  Add to it a baked yam, carrots and some gravy and I had myself a wonderful dinner.  Leftovers include a fully made plate and some breast and thigh meat with gravy for hot chicken sandwiches, and the carcass went straight into the crock pot with lots of water to make chicken soup stock for my next few batches of soup - it was cooking on the low setting overnight and this morning the house smells wonderful.

I wonder what kind of desserts he has in there…?

With love across the waters,

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