Saturday, December 25, 2010

Slow Roasted Chicken with Lemon, Garlic and Rosemary

Hot from the oven!  I have to say that this was a successful experiment.  I wanted to slow-roast primarily to keep my oven from spattering (sad, but true), but also because it's supposed to produce succulent results.  I think both ideas worked, although after a couple of hours at 300 degrees, with a few spatters appearing on the pan, I turned the oven up to 350, covered the pan with a big sheet of aluminum foil, and let it cook another hour or more until I was reasonably satisfied I had the instant-read thermometer in the right place and it was sufficiently cooked.  This was a big chicken: 7.33 lbs, so it took awhile. Sorry I didn't keep better track of time or I could tell you exactly how long, but about 3 hours total, I think. The breast meat is as tender and succulent as anybody could want.  Haven't tried the other parts yet, but much of that will be used for chicken soup, so if the joints are still pink, it won't matter.  The skin was a bit tough, rather than crisp, but I guess that's the price I pay for keeping my oven clean.

The Recipe: Well, it isn't much of a recipe, more of an experiment and a process.

First, I put some raw onion wedges, a few lemon slices, some garlic cloves and a couple of spears of fresh rosemary from my garden into the pan.  The chicken went on top of all that.  Then, I melted some butter with more garlic, chopped rosemary and salt and pepper.  Once that was cooled and congealed enough that it was nice and thick and spoonable, I very carefully eased the skin away from the breast meat and spooned the butter mixture underneath, spreading it gently using the skin itself.  You don't want to tear the skin, as it helps keep the meat moist.  More rosemary, garlic and a lemon wedge or two went into the cavity in lieu of stuffing, then I sat back and watched and waited and wished it wasn't taking so long.

Dinner!  Gravy made from pan drippings over cornbread dressing, with a side of sweet potato souffle. When I cook for just myself, I don't bother with other sides.  I go for what I love and want and stuff myself to the gills.  It's only once a year, after all.

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