Friday, July 22, 2011
Roast Chicken with Lemon and Bacon-Rosemary Roast Potatoes
I've finally taken the plunge. I roasted a chicken. I realize my timing for this couldn't be worse, since - as my coworker described it - there's some sort of jello-mold type weather pattern of heat and humidity making the outside unbearable today. Probably not the type of weather you want to turn the oven on for, but you can just save this recipe for when the heat finally passes (it's going to pass right?).
In any event, before the heat really came, I roasted my first chicken. I'd make a turkey before, for a Thanksgiving feast at my apartment in college, and it actually came out really good. But roasting a chicken is..well it's just different. When I roasted a turkey, I used a turkey-bag to keep the moisture in...but that didn't seem necessary with the chicken. This was uncharted territory.
Now, of course there were some deals to be had. The organic chicken was on sale, so it actually cost less than the regular, Purdue chicken. $1.39/lb for organic chicken is a pretty good deal. Also, my store had local, organic rosemary for the same price as the imported, regular stuff, so I got that as well. I'd love to grow my own, but I haven't quite figured it out on my balcony. Finally, I had a $0.75 off coupon for turkey bacon, plus it was on sale 10 for $10 so I got the pack for $0.25. Too bad they didn't double my coupon or it would have been free!
Once I got my nice organic chicken home I discovered something... not so pleasant. When I made the turkey in college, the giblet and all of the organs were in a nice little bag. It was gross, but I could pull out the bag, dump it in the trash, and adios! But in this chicken, everything was just hanging out in the cavity. Not bagged. Which meant hands, pulling organs, out of a chicken's butt. Several times. Now I love chopped liver...but it doesn't look or feel like a liver...here I could see and feel every organ. I think the lungs were even in there. Nasty.
Once that little step was over, everything else went pretty swimmingly. I wanted to really have that rosemary taste in the potatoes, so I added dried crushed rosemary to the water I boiled them in. I figure, if I'm going to boil something, I better boil it in flavor. I feel that way about a lot of things (have you ever boiled your pasta in water mixed with red wine? mmmm!!)
Also, I kinda forgot to stab the lemon before I shoved it up the turkey's butt... I mean inserted it into the cavity. This wasn't a huge deal... we stabbed it after the first 45 minutes and I think it was still fine. I also decided to squeeze the lemon onto the potatoes at the end....it'd probably be wise to check the temperature of the lemon before you do this so that you don't get salmonella poisoning.
I tried to get a little pretty with the bacon (actually I thought this was how I remembered it in the picture... I was wrong). This meant that where the pieces all crossed, the lower pieces didn't get crispy. I just didn't use these sections when I added it back into the potatoes. Next time I'll use strips across the chicken so that they crisp up really nicely.
We really loved this recipe overall. It's a pretty easy thing to throw together... as long as you account for needing about 2 hours before you're ready to eat. The ingredients are fairly minimal... you may even have many of the ingredients in the house. The chicken was incredibly moist and the potatoes were tender and flavorful. Plus, since I met the Monkey Scientist, I rarely have leftovers from dinner to bring to work for lunch the next day...but with this I had lots! This recipe is definitely a go-to dinner. And if you wanted to have it for Friday night dinner, you can totally leave off the bacon (although that really would be a shame...). Bacon, YUM.
Roast Chicken with Lemon and Bacon-Rosemary Roast Potatoes
adapted from Ezra Pound Cake who adapted from Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Dinners
1 4- to 4 1/2 lb chicken (mine was about 4 3/4 lb)
salt (I used table, but next time I'll use sea salt)
freshly ground pepper
dried crushed rosemary (optional)
4 lb Yukon gold potatoes
1 large lemon
1 whole bulb of garlic, broken into cloves (I peeled them)
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, on the stem
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
a handful of fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves picked
2 slices of pork bacon or 4 slices of turkey bacon
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Prep the chicken: Remove the giblets and liver from the chicken's cavity. Rinse the chicken under cold water, set it in the roasting pan, and dry it well with paper dowels, inside and out. Rub it inside and out with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Let the chicken rest in the roasting pan at room temperature while you prep the potatoes.
3. Prep the potatoes: Season a large pot or Dutch oven with salt and dried rosemary, if using, and bring to a boil. While you're waiting, peel the potatoes (if you haven't already) and cut them into golf ball-sized pieces. Put them into the boiling water, along with the whole lemon and the garlic cloves. Cook for 12 minutes (I cooked closer to 15 because it took a while to get the water back to boiling).
4. Drain, and return the potatoes, garlic and lemon to the pot to steam dry for 1 minute. Transfer the lemon and garlic to a small plate. Grab a wooden spoon, and toss the potatoes in the pot, so their outsides get a little wrecked and shaggy looking (and you can find all the garlic). This will make your potatoes nice and crispy later. Set aside.
5. Rub the chicken all over with olive oil. Stab the lemon about 10 times, and push it into the chicken's cavity, along with the garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs. Add the potatoes and sliced onions to the pan, spreading them around the chicken. Cook for 45 min.
6. Remove the pan from the oven. Transfer the chicken to a large plate, but leave the potatoes in the roasting pan. Add the rosemary leaves to the potatoes, and using a wooden spoon or spatula, toss the potatoes and rosemary with the chicken fat in the pan.
7. Return the chicken to the center of the pan. If you're adding the bacon, lay the slices over the chicken breast, and roast for another 45 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F. If you're not using a thermometer, look for the thigh meat to pull away from the bone easily and the juices to run clear.
8. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the bacon slices from the chicken, and crumble the bacon over the potatoes.
9. Remove the lemon, rosemary, and garlic from the inside of the chicken. Squeeze the lemon over your potatoes and crush the garlic into your potatoes. Toss the rosemary sprigs.
10. Carve the chicken and serve with potatoes.