Friday, May 10, 2013

Whole Foods Feasting: Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

Roast chicken and vegetables might might not be the fastest thing to make from start to table, but once everything's in the oven, you got plenty of time to do other things, whether that's making salad, helping the kids with homework, or chatting with our guests.

The other great thing about a meal like this is that you can customize it any way you like. You can add extra herbs or spices, or you can change the vegetables to suit what you like, or to accommodate what's in season I love asparagus, so that was the focus of my vegetables.

Paprika is one of my favorite spices for use with chicken. You can find several varieties of paprika- sweet, sharp, or smoked - so use the one you like.

The really great thing about chicken is that the leftovers are good cold. The breasts can be sliced for sandwiches, or you can chop it for chicken salad.

Of course the carcass can be sued to make soup. Speaking of that carcass, I spatchcocked the chicken, but instead of removing the backbone completely, I just cut along one side and left it attached.since I wanted to use it for the stock, and I know it would have more flavor if it was roasted.

A spatchcocked chicken doesn't look as pretty as a whole chicken. In fact, it looks just  little weird. But it cooks more evenly, so you don't end up with undercooked thighs and overcooked breast meat. I don't present whole chickens at the table, anyway - I cut them up to serve. So it doesn't matter if the chicken looks a little strange in the oven.

Roast Spatchcocked Chicken

1 3-4-pound whole chicken
Salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Paprika, to taste

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Turn the chicken so the breast side is down. and use kitchen shears to cut along one side of the backbone.

Open the chicken up, turn it open-side down, and press down along the breast bone to flatten it. I did this right on the baking sheet I was going to use to cook the chicken on. It fit perfectly on a quarter-sheet pan, but you can use whatever pan you like.

Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, and paprika as desired.

Roast the chicken at 325 degrees until the chicken is cooked through - 160 degrees in the breast and 180 in the thigh, Depending on the size of the chicken and how cold it was going into the oven, this will take 60-90 minutes.

Let the chicken rest for 10-15 minutes before you cut it into pieces. I like to serve the legs, thighs, and wings whole and cut the breasts into several pieces or slice it into thick slices.

If you like, you can use the drippings from the chicken to make a gravy. Or, if you prefer, save the dripping to use when you make stock from the chicken bones.

Roasted Asparagus (and friends)

I like grilled or roasted asparagus, but sometimes it can dry out before it's tender. One way to thwart that is to use more oil. Or sometimes I steam the asparagus to par-cook it before roasting.

But I found another way around it. But putting the asparagus on the bottom of the pan with the rest of the vegetables on top for the beginning of the cooking time, the asparagus steams a bit in its own juices, so it gets tender. Then, I stir the vegetables around so they get a nice roasty flavor.

Roasted Vegetables

2 bunches asparagus, tough stems removed
1/2 pound white mushrooms
1 small zucchini
1 red onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Arrange the asparagus on a quarter-sheet baking pan (or whatever similarly-sized pan you have.)

Cut the mushrooms in half and put them on top of the asparagus. Trim the ends off the zucchini, cut it in half width-wise, then cut into wedges lengthwise. Arrange them on top of the asparagus.

Peel the onion, then cut it into thin wedges and put the wedges on top of the asparagus.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then drizzle with the lemon juice and olive oil.

Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes, then use tongs to stir the vegetables around. Continue cooking until the vegetables are done to your liking, stirring again as needed. Depending on who well done you like your vegetables, they'll be done in another 30 to 60 minutes.

Serve warm.

For more information about my relationship with Whole Foods, see the tab at the top.