Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fall is back with a vengeance, and so am I!

It's that special time of year kids!  The leaves are starting to change, you're using a little less sunroof & a little more seat warmer; there's no time like the present to roast a chicken!  I've always been pretty skilled in the kitchen but didn't get the hang of roast chicken until pretty recently; for something that's supposed to be simple, it can be hella hard to get it right.

I wish I could remember the site I learned this from a few months back so I could give them credit for saving me from any more chicken-fails.  The secret is to let the bird come to room-ish temperature before putting it in the oven.  The first time I tried it, it was like magic; it was the best chicken I'd ever made, and maybe the best homemade chicken I'd ever had (yeah, sorry mom!)

Without further brouhaha, here's my first Official Fall Dinner:

1 Chicken- 5.5 lbs, hopefully the bug-eating pastured variety
1 lemon, quartered
1 large fennel bulb, cut into large chunks
1 red onion cut into large chunks like your fennel
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2" slices
2 cups brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
The obligatory handful of peeled garlic cloves
2 TBS butter, softened
A few TBS light olive oil, melted butter, whatever you want to drizzle everything with

-Remove chicken from its packaging, rinse, pat dry, and set on a plate with some paper towels.  Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit out for 4-5 hours.
-Heat oven to 425.
-Rub chicken with softened butter (or olive oil if you're not doing butter), sprinkle pretty liberally with salt & pepper, and a little dried thyme (I would've added rosemary but couldn't find it).
-Place chicken in a BIG roasting dish breast-down (this keeps the breast moist), stuff lemon wedges into the cavity, and put in the oven
-After 30 minutes, remove pan from the oven, arrange fennel, onion, and carrots around the chicken, and drizzle with some fat of choice.
-After 45 more minutes, flip the chicken on its back so the breast can crisp up, and add the brussels sprouts & garlic, stir veggies together.
-In about 30 more minutes, everything should be done (if you poke around the leg and breast, clear juices should run out.)  Pull the pan from the oven and let the chicken rest 20 minutes before serving.

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