Apparently, when I decide to roast something for dinner, I decide to roast everything. (almost)
I had never roasted a chicken before, but suddenly had a hankering to do so. I had never even really been in charge of the turkey, no matter how much I do for Thanksgiving. For a first attempt, I'd say I did pretty damn well.
With all the apples sitting in my kitchen, taunting me, daring me to try to use them all before they went bad, I knew that at least one had to be used as a part of this recipe. I did some research on the interwebs, and it didn't seem like it would be all that hard. I was expecting to stuff the chicken more like a turkey, but wasn't very disappointed when I discovered that that wasn't the norm. Following a few guidelines, but sort of just feeling my way - this is what I did.
What you'll need:
2 carrots, unpeeled and sliced about 1/4" thick
2 stalks of celery, sliced the same
1 medium onion, diced
1 apple, quartered only (do not peel or core)
5-8 cloves garlic
fresh rosemary sprigs
1 whole chicken, giblets and all
1 cup white wine (plus however much you would like to drink)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a rack 1/3 of the way up in the oven so that the chicken will sit in the middle.
Line the bottom of a roasting pan or casserole dish with the carrots, celery and onion. Place a few sprigs of thyme and rosemary on top in center, where you will place the chicken.
Clean the chicken - remove any remaining feathers, remove the giblets and place in the bed of vegetables. Also remove the pieces of fat attaching the skin near the cavity. You can chose to wash and pat dry the chicken. I did not as I didn't want to spread salmonella to my sink and kitchen and figured that roasting the chicken would kill the germs anyway.
Once the cavity of the chicken is empty, sprinkle with salt and pepper, insert garlic, a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme, as well as the apple. The entire apple may not fit. I had to cut mine into 1/8ths to fit more than a quarter. Massage the butter or margarine into the skin all over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on top of the bed of vegetables, herbs and giblets.
Place in the oven to roast for 45-60 minutes. I did not have a meat thermometer, so let my chicken stay in a little longer than it probably should have. I'd rather have my chicken be a little dry than under cooked. Ideally, though, you want the meat to be about 160 degrees in the thickest part of the breast.
Once the chicken is done, remove the pan from the oven and the chicken from the pan. Remove the apples, garlic, etc from the cavity. Cover with aluminum foil and let sit while you prepare the phenomenal au jus.
Scrape all the vegetables and giblets from the pan into a bowl, allowing any juices to remain. Pour the glass of wine into the bowl with the vegetables so it can collect any remaining flavor or juices. Then pour the wine, straining out the vegetables into a sauce pan along with the juices from the roasting pan. Be sure to smush the vegetables a bit as you're straining them so you get as much flavor out of them as possible. Turn on the burner to a medium low heat to allow the alcohol to begin to burn off. At this point, check the chicken to see if any juice has accumulated on the plate or in the cavity. If so, add this to the pan now and continue cooking for just a few minutes longer.
Now the sauce and chicken are both ready to serve!
Our meal was accompanied by an attempt at roast vegetables. I say attempt because unfortunately, the rack to roast the chicken on was low and therefore close to the bottom rack in the oven. The vegetables seemed to steam more than roast, but it all worked out.
This one's easy!
Slice and dice your favorite assortment of vegetables and arrange in one layer on a baking sheet.
Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and other spices of choice and place in the oven. After 15 minutes turn over, brush, sprinkle and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes. Once the vegetables have reached the desired doneness, enjoy!
Eat me, I'm done!!
(also accompanied by mashed potatoes, as you can see)