Roast Chicky-Bird


Jump to Recipe

When I started chickening (in the last four years now—after having been vegetarian for nearly 20), I found these Smart Chicken whole birds at Woodman’s. Their gimmick (if you will) is they air-chill and don’t add water. I have no real idea what this means but can only assume you’re not paying for the weight of water when you buy their chickens.

I can also assume that they’re a pretty alright company because Jeni St Market switched from Bell and Evans (a very alright company) to Smart Chicken (because of some distro and stocking problems for the small store).

However, the whole fryers are usually somewhere between 2.5 and 3.5 lbs and are $10-13. The organic version of the bird is similarly sized but twice as much.

Thankfully, Woodman’s also carries birds that aren’t Tyson or Gold ‘n’ Plump. Namely, Gerber’s Amish Farm chickens. These hefty fellas are 4ish lbs and $7ish. Plus, you usually get a neck and a pair o’ kidneys, the use of which we’ll get to in another post about the best chicken gravy you will ever smell, make, or taste.

During these last four years of roasting chickens, I’ve settled on a way that incorporates a little from GOOP, Ottolenghi, and a new favorite, Sam the Cooking Guy, and I’m here to tell you all about it.

It’s at this point that I always thank the bird for letting us eat him.

You start out with a bird on your favorite raw-poultry-only cutting board and, instead of rinsing him off (which has been purported to simply spread the possibility of salmonella* around the kitchen), take a couple of paper towels and pat dry all over, getting in the pits and inside the cavity.

*It’s good to be safe because the effects of the bacteria mean you won’t be eating chicken any time in the near future.

Into the cavity, shove a couple of quartered lemons, and if there is room, cut the top off a head of garlic and put that in there, too.

Preheat the oven to 425° and get out your carbon-steel pan (or cooking sheet, or whatever you roast in).

Now, as the Joy of Cooking puts it so annoyingly, perform a simple truss! It’s never so simple, and I usually cut the string too short. But, I’ll attempt to explain it so maybe I can remember myself and can stop referencing the drawings in the book.

First, measure out at least two feet of string, but probably more, and start by wrapping the middle of the string around the Pope’s nose and give it a tie. Then, hold the two legs together (where there were once feet) and wrap the string around them so they’re very close, or even crossed. This is when I begin to lose patience; track the string under the thighs and up toward the wings. Some people (who cut their string long enough) wrap around the wings a couple of times, but in the reference photos, I appear to only have used the string to keep ’em close. Which is the point, really. You just don’t want them flapping about because they’ll burn.

All trussed up and nowhere to go. Except for the oven.
Sticking his neck out!

Tie the string at the neck and go wash your hands.

Mix equal parts garlic powder, salt (there’s a difference), and ground pepper and hold about 12 inches above the bird and sprinkle all over until it’s healthfully covered. The bird up there is shiny because he was spritzed with avocado oil, a practice I have since halted. They render enough juicy fat that really, no extra oil is needed.

That’s it! Stick him in the oven at 425° for 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 385° and after a total of 40 minutes, get out your baster and start basting. Tip the pan with the cavity opening toward you so you get the lemon juices and baste for a minute. Put the bird back in for another 30 minutes and then check the temperature of the thickest part of the thigh (avoiding the bone, which will be significantly hotter). You’re looking for 165° or higher. Though, I’ve read some chef claim he “likes [his] chicken a little pink” and thinks it’s fine at 150°. I do not.

Lately, I’ve been sticking a chef’s knife into the cavity and tilting it into the pan so the juices run out there instead of on my cutting board. This also allows me to use the grease plus lemon juice as an amazing salad dressing. I did get myself a not-raw-chicken board with a deeper well and a slant, so the juices run toward the back and not all over the counter. I’ve used it once and it worked swimmingly. Get it?! Swimming in chicken juice.

Ahem.

The next really important part here is to let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes, 15 if you can stand it. This is why it’s good to temp the chicken higher (180°) because it’s going to sit for a while and you don’t want to serve lukewarm chicken.

The next post about chickens will be the carving process, which is made so much easier after it rests. The fibers settle down, the juices get settled where they need to, and it’s not going to burn your fingers.

Roasted Chicken

The easiest things since sliced bread.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 10 mins
Resting Time15 mins
Total Time1 hr 45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 1 4lb chicken patted dry
  • 1/2 lemon quartered
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper finely ground

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Stuff the cavity with lemon slices and truss.
  • Mix spices together and sprinkle over the bird in an even coat.
  • Bake at 425° for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 385°.
    After a total of 40 minutes, baste the bird with its juices and return to the oven for another 30 minutes. When it registers 165° in the thigh, remove from heat and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Chrissy’s Chicken & Dumplings 🥣🍗


This is yet another Teigen recipe fan-post. Her second cookbook garnered more than twice the post-its as her first book, and this recipe would get four; if there were that many sides of a piece of paper!

Not Chrissy’s, but an indication of what a good cookbook looks like in my house.

Cozy, homey, comfy, round, buttery, and well worth the extra effort of browning, brothing, and shredding the chicken, letting the soup become soup, and dumping the dumplings.

There’s enough chicken called for to have to work in batches. I think I used just a little shy of 3lbs, though the recipe calls for 4. Once all the chicken pieces are sufficiently crispy, you add water and herbs and let the magic happen over the next 60 minutes.

This part was a surprise to me as I’m used to making broth in a slow cooker over the course of 12-24 hours, but that renders the chicken meat pretty useless, and that is the opposite of what we want here.

After an hour, grab your favorite strainer, strain into your favorite large bowl (it needs to hold at least 8 cups), and discard the herbs. Fish out the chicken (see what I did there?) and use two forks to pick the meat off. We’re not going for a shred… more like sumptuous pieces.

Discard the bones and skin—this was very difficult for me—and set the meat aside.

I shouldn’t do this part when I’m ravished.

Back into your Dutch oven, or another vessel, goes carrots, onions, celery until soft, then stir in some flour until it browns slightly.

In goes the chicken, broth, and a potato! Boil then simmer for 20 minutes.

While the soup becomes a magical display of smooth, comforting goodness, prepare the dumpling dough. It’s important to be gentle (read: don’t overwork) with the dough. So, mix those ingredients *just so* and make sure you fret about it! I kid. Cooking shouldn’t make a person fret. I think those energies get into the food and that is why you get tough dumplings.

Dumpler dough!

I used two spoons to size ’em up and drop ’em in. In retrospect, I made them a skosh too big. Less than a tablespoon of dough would have been ideal; they expand more than you’d think. At least more than I thought they would.

After the dumplings dance around and soak up the delicious liquid for about 15 minutes, you’re ready to serve.

This picture doesn’t do it justice. Yum.

I’m not going to post the recipe here because of the unwritten rule of food bloggers, but you can google the name to find the ingredients and instructions, or you can support me (and Chrissy, theoretically) by buying her second cookbook through that link. 🎉

Party-Hearty Winger-Dingers 🎉🍗🌶🎊


Jump to Recipe

Despite my cooking prowess, I have been known to repeatedly order out (often enough to Facebook-friend the delivery guy) when I find something I *really* like. Extra-hot buffalo chicken wings were one of those repeated orders (this was way before Facebook, though).

Wings from Pizza Extreme (which appears to be now owned by Pizza Pit) were the catalyst for my transition from sorta vegetarian to completely vegetarian in 1999.

I used to order the 1 lb. wings and the 1/2 lb. fries (checking the current menu makes me feel a little ill) and would mostly finish them. Thankfully, this was when I was merely 20—an age when routine digestion and regularity weren’t as important or, lack thereof, surprising.

That fateful, final order must have come during a time of self-reflection—or extreme delusion (I was 20, after all; both of the previous could have been true)—as I distinctly remember picking up a wing and seeing a handful of pinfeathers. I threw the piece back into the round, aluminum container and put it in the fridge for my then-boyfriend… if he wanted to hear about it while eating them later. Thus began my un-chicken, total vegetarianism for, what would turn out to last roughly 20 years (more on that later).

Fast-forward to now! *cue fast forward tape noise from the 80s* *put hair up in pony-tail and put on blue eyeshadow!*

I’m an adult now, so I can exercise conscious decision-making when selecting the food I choose to eat. And, since Costco’s chicken is damn inexpensive, I buy a lot of it. A lot. And I freeze it for next time. And then I buy more, because, as we say in this house, “IT AIN’T GUNNA GO BAD!”

I’ll get to the actual food now since we are all witness (see above) to what happens when I let a month go by without writing a recipe.

The secret “sauce” in this is actually dry ingredients.

Many recipes suggest rinsing and patting the chicken dry before commencing. I’ll do this for the wings because I want to get the packaged liquid off, and the dry rub (well, toss) as close to the skin as possible.

Grab your favorite metal bowl and mix together 3 Tbsp arrowroot flour, 1 tsp each cayenne, garlic powder, and some salt and pepper (I almost typed “to taste”, but don’t taste this mixture cuz it’ll be like chalk).

Toss a handful of the wings in the bowl to coat, place on a prepared baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and repeat until you run out of wings.

I keep a separate cutting board for poultry. You should, too.

This is usually the point at which I realize that I’ve forgotten to turn on the oven. So, preheat the oven to 400° before you start the tossing process. When the oven is ready, put ’em in and set a timer. Mine goes something like, “Alexa? Set a chicken timer for fifteen minutes.”

While they’re enduring the first round of heat, you can make the blue cheese “cooling sauce”. Who am I kidding? This is just an excuse to get cheese into a meal that would otherwise be just fine without.

This takes some mayo, Mexican crema (or sour cream, or Greek yogurt), lemon juice, a couple of drops of Worchestershire, and crumbly blue cheese. We used celery and cucumber slices to deliver the sauce to our mouths. You can use whatever you have on hand.

“Cooling sauce” and sauce shovels.

The hot sauce is up to interpretation, so I’ll tell you how I make mine and you can adjust to your liking. Put a stick of butter in a small bowl and just barely melt it in the microwave, then squirt about a tablespoon of Sriracha in the bowl and stir it up.

By now, the timer should be going off, tell Alexa to hush, pull the wings out and flip each one over and set a ten-minute timer. Dance around the kitchen for ten minutes, pull the wings out and apply the hot sauce lovingly to each wing and put them back in for five more minutes.

Delicious, gooey, buttery hot wings.

Now, some folks would tell you to let them rest, but I say, throw caution to the wind! Plate ’em up and watch ’em go.

Before the party.

Hot Party Wings

Chicken wings for a party or just for dinner.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Wings

  • 4 lbs chicken wings party-sized
  • 3 Tbsp arrowroot flour
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt, pepper
  • 1/4 c butter melted
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha

Blue Cheese

  • 1 c mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp Worchestershire
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 c sour cream, crema, or greek yogurt to desired consistency
  • 1/2 c blue cheese crumbled
  • vegetable variety celery, cucumbers

Instructions

Wings

  • Preheat oven to 400°, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Rinse and pat dry the chicken, lay on poultry-safe cutting board.
  • Mix everything from arrowroot to pepper in a metal bowl.
  • Toss chicken in dry rub until coated. Place on the baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, flipping after 15.
  • Melt butter and mix with Sriracha. Brush onto wings and bake for 5 minutes more.

Blue Cheese Sauce

  • Mix everything together. Serve with celery and cucumbers.

Three-Ingredient* Tomato Soup 🥫


Jump to Recipe

This is a quick side, a lifesaver on a cold winter day, and we can’t be friends if you don’t have the ingredients available in your pantry (actually, I don’t care for it when folks make that exclamation, so we can still be friends, regardless).

Butter, onion, tomatoes.

That’s it, have a great day!


JUST KIDDING!

Grab your 3- or 4-quart Dutch oven (even if you’re only making a small amount, I’ll explain later) and put some butter in there over medium heat.

Slice an onion into very large pieces and sauté for five minutes or until soft.

Dump in one can of diced tomatoes for every two people who will end up with a serving. For each pair of folks, fill up one can with water, veggie, or chicken broth and pour into the vessel (*this is where the three-ingredient-claim kinda falls down, but I would contend that the recipe is great, even if it’s four ingredients).

Bring to a simmer, cover, and set a timer for 30 minutes.

Grab your immersion blender and zip it into a smooth soup. This is where using the smallest Dutch oven isn’t the best idea. Immersion-blending it in a 2-quart will result in splattered shirts and faces.

Serve with a side of grilled cheese or tuna melts.

Three-Ingredient Tomato Soup

A throw-together soup with ingredients you hopefully have.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2

Equipment

  • Dutch oven
  • Immersion blender

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp butter unsalted
  • 1/2 medium white onion sliced large
  • 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14.5 oz. can can-full of broth or water

Instructions

  • Heat Dutch oven over medium-high and add butter.
  • Place sliced onion and stir to coat.
  • Dump in the tomatoes, fill can with water (or broth of your choice) and empty into Dutch oven.
  • Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Use immersion blender to mix to desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Chicky Enchiladas


Jump to Recipe

I gave these two eggplants because I used my Instant Pot to infuse the chicken with flavor. If you have shredded chicken or need to use some up that’s already cooked, this is definitely a one-eggplant recipe.

Because of the Instant Pot (IP), you can start with frozen chicken breast, which makes this super convenient (and not very pretty, so that’s why there are no pictures). I usually throw two breasts into the pot, pour in a 12oz jar of Stubb’s Anytime Sauce and fill the rest to cover with chicken broth. Set the machine to pressure cook for 20 minutes. If you’re not in a rush, you can let it release pressure naturally, or you can manually release if ya hangry.

Two flavor-infused chicken breasts.

Scoop ’em out and onto a plate and use two forks to shred them (you can save what’s left inside the IP or do what we did recently, and it will be The. Best. Thing. Ever.). Throw the chicken back into the IP and stir it up. This was the fella’s idea and I couldn’t be happier with the result.

This will infuse it even more.

Grab your flour tortillas (El Milagro are the best I’ve had in Madison, but I’ll taste test tortillas all day long), mixed, shredded cheese, and start rolling up.

Soggy chicken is a good thing.
Cheese-covered chicken is an even better thing.
Tortilla, chicken, cheese, repeat.

I usually go until the dish is full, squeezing space, cursing the lack of tortillas, wishing they could assemble themselves. When I run out of chicken, I pour what’s left of the juices from the IP, add a can of green enchilada sauce for good measure, and cover with some more cheese, because I’m from Wisconsin.

I had more burrito- than taco-sized tortillas this time.
*Insert Homer Simpson drool noise here*

That’s it, folks! Bake at 400° for 20-ish minutes and dig right in.

OMG SO GOOD
Neither of us cleaned our plates.

Chicken Enchiladas

The quickest, easiest chicken enchiladas in the world (at least in mine).
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Coming to pressure and release15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts boneless, skinless
  • 1 12 oz. Stubb's Anytime Sauce bottle
  • 1 12 oz. chicken broth fill the Stubb's bottle, shake, and pour
  • 10 flour tortillas
  • 1 10 oz. green enchilada sauce cans
  • 2 cups Mexican cheese blend

Instructions

  • Pour the jar of Stubb's into your Instant Pot (IP) and place the chicken into the pot. Pour broth in to cover by about an inch. Set the IP to manual pressure for 20 minutes. When done, release using your favorite method and shred with two forks on a plate.
  • Put the shredded chicken back into the IP and stir it up to get every little bit covered.
  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Put the tortilla on a plate, spoon across it some chicken and cover with cheese (don't overfill because that's not cool). Wrap into a cigar-shape and place in the casserole dish. Rinse and repeat until you run out of chicken, cheese, tortillas, or out of space in the dish.
  • Pour the contents of the IP and a can of enchilada sauce over the top and cover with a handful of shredded cheese.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until bubbling. Let rest for a few and serve.

Save the broth!

After the contents of the IP cool, I pour it into my silicone ice cube trays and freeze. You can throw the result into any soup, rice, or anything you want to spruce up later on.

Coconut Curry Chicken


Jump to Recipe

While this is nearly the same as the Coconut Curry Whitefish post, I didn’t feel like I should simply make an addendum to that one because the chicken requires more prep and cook time, which means it gets an extra eggplant on the easy-rating scale.

Plus, I added a can of diced tomatoes. And chopped cauliflower. And green beans. Okay, so it’s not nearly the same at all. Hence the new post!

That’s all onion, curry paste, and oil.

When the onion is sufficiently soft (remember, it’s going to cook for another 35-45 minutes, so it’ll get softer), add the coconut milk and mix it up (I had to add this separately because, well, the milk had separated).

Stir in the tomatoes, veggies, turmeric, chicken broth, agave nectar, and red pepper flakes.

Marvel for a moment at how very easy it is to make a curry broth with veggies (cuz it’s about to get a little weird).

Remove the skin from the chicken and save them for chicken-skin chicharrónes (which you’ll hear about eventually because I made them for the first time the next day after making this and they were amaaaazing).

Naked chicken thighs look pretty strange.

Lay the bird pieces on top of the liquid and pop a lid on it. Set a timer for 35 minutes and take a shower, walk the dogs, watch an episode and a half of The Office, or do whatever you do. When the chicken temps at 165°, it’s ready to enjoy!

Pop some rice in a bowl and, using a non-slotted spoon, scoop some veggies and yummy broth onto the plate. Top with a chicken thigh. Enjoy the steam.

Steamy goodness. Sorry if this animation is a little twitchy.

You will have plenty leftover and it reheats really well. Make your coworkers jelly by bring this to lunch the next day!

Coconut Curry Chicken

This uses a basic coconut curry sauce in which to cook the chicken.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 med yellow onion halved, thinly sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves finely grated
  • 14 oz coconut milk can (full fat)
  • 14 oz diced tomatoes can
  • 2 c cauliflower chopped
  • 2 c green beans cut into 2" pieces
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp yellow curry paste
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 c chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp agave nectar
  • 4 chicken thighs skin removed (save for other use!)
  • salt to taste
  • white pepper to taste
  • steamed white rice to serve

Instructions

  • Heat coconut oil over medium in a 2-4 qt. dutch oven.
  • Heat curry paste in the melted coconut oil until softened.
  • Add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft; about 5 minutes.
  • Throw in the coconut milk, diced tomatoes, cauliflower, beans, turmeric, and red pepper flakes. Cook until veggies are soft; about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the chicken broth and agave nectar and bring to a simmer.
  • Gently place thighs on top of the simmering liquid and cover. Leave for 35 minutes or until chicken measures at least 165° at the thickest part.
  • Serve over white rice (or any rice, really—even some naan would do).