Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Roasted Chicken

Valentine's Day is this Sunday. If you haven't already arranged for a babysitter and made a reservation at your favorite romantic restaurant, chances are you'll be eating in this year. Between now and Friday look for recipes that can be mixed and matched for a simple yet elegant meal for you and your sweetie, whether they be a meat-eater or a meat-freer. First up, roasted chicken. This is so simple to prepare, yet always makes an elegant presentation.

Roasted Chicken

1 Whole Chicken
2 tsp Olive Oil
3-4 Cloves Garlic, Minced or Pressed
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
2 tsp Fresh Herbs, such as Thyme or Rosemary
1/4 - 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes, depending on how spicy you like things
1/2 tsp Paprika
1 Lemon, Halved
1-2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
1-2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
1 or 2 Carrots
1 or 2 Stalks of Celery

Preheat Oven to 400

Remove and discard (or save for a later use) the giblets from inside the bird. Combine the olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, herbs, pepper flakes and paprika in a small bowl. Place the carrot and celery in a roasting pan in such a way that the chicken can sit on top of them without touching the bottom of the pan. (Essentially, you want to use the veggies as a 'roasting rack' for the chicken. You can also use potatoes, onions, rutabagas, whatever you have on hand. This is a good use for veggies that are a bit past their prime.)

Place the chicken on top of the veggies in the roasting pan and rub it all over with the olive oil mixture. Put the cut-up lemon and remaining sprigs of herbs inside the cavity of the chicken. Roast in the 400 degree oven until done, about 1 1/2 hours. You can tell the chicken is done when a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 170-175. Alternatively, you can give it the 'wiggle test'. Grab a hold of one of the legs (using a pot holder or paper towel) and wiggle it, if it feels like it would easily separate from the rest of the bird, it's done.

Let the chicken rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.

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