Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Winner winner chicken dinner

We eat a lot of chicken around here. We raise our own, usually fifty a year, so we have a freezer full.

This month we will be getting a new batch of Cornish Cross chicks. But I will blog about that later...

I'm always looking for new and interesting ways to prepare chicken for dinner. But I have one tried and true recipe that I use often. Whole herb roasted chicken.

Roasted chicken can take many variations- you can stuff it with seasoned bread crumbs or whole lemons or whole garlic bulbs or herb bouquets. This is the recipe I use most often. It is simple and quick to prepare and yields succulent flavorful meat.

Whole Herb Roasted Chicken

This bird was one of my larger, easily seven or eight pounds.
After rinsing it and patting it dry with a paper towel I rubbed it with olive oil.
I placed the chicken in a foil lined pan. The foil sheets have to be large enough to wrap around the chicken and seal for baking. I prefer the heavy duty foil for this but I was out so used layers of regular foil.
I sliced about six large cloves of garlic and slipped the slices under the skin against the breast meat and in the leg joints. Then I rubbed dry herbs all over the skin. About two or three teaspoons each of dried sage, thyme and rosemary but you could use any combination of others.
In the summer and fall I use only fresh herbs from the garden and just place them inside and around the bird. Slipping sage leaves under the skin gives great flavor also.

The next step is mix 1/2 cup white wine and 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar in a cup and pour it over the chicken. Let some run into the cavity. This will steam the chicken during baking and give it deliciousness!

This is what I use for cooking wine:
Two Buck Chuck

There was a kitchen axiom for cooking wines that went something like this: use the same wine for cooking that you would drink. In other words, the good stuff. I could never bring myself to do that because I am frugal of necessity so I was very pleased to read an article in Cooks Illustrated that described an experiment they did in their famous test kitchen. They prepared recipes with good, expensive wine and again with cheap wine. There was absolutely no flavor difference in the end result. So go ahead and use the cheap stuff like good ol' Charles Shaw which you can get for $2.99 at Trader Joe's (thus the moniker "Two Buck Chuck"-it actually used to be $2 but inflation has affected him too).

Exception: do NOT use the concoction that is labeled "cooking wine" in the condiment aisle of the grocery store. That is most definitely vinegar and not wine. I think that is where the axiom for only using good wine was derived from. Drinking wine vs. so called "cooking wine" aka vinegar.

Next I placed a sheet of parchment paper over the chicken and down the sides because I don't like the aluminum foil touching my food. I then wrapped the foil around the bird and sealed it as best as I could.

Finally I bake the chicken in an oven at, um, varying temperatures according to how much of a hurry I am in. Today I got the chicken in late and it was a big clucker so I put it on 425 degrees. But it could be 375 if the bird is smaller and it would get done in two hours.

The last half hour or so I pull back the foil and parchment to let the skin turn golden brown and crispy.

Oh yeah.
So good.

After slicing off meat for tonight's meal, I have enough leftover for about three more meals...risotto, chicken pot pie, chicken tacos....


  1. The title made me laugh out loud. My old mentor Mick, in Tahoe, has 3 kids, and is a goof ball and a really active dad, always saying weird things to his kids to make them laugh. And he brought it to work. He was always saying "see you later alligator" and the like. "Winner winner chicken dinner" followed every lunch, when he finished first and would try to rub it in our faces that "he won." Like we were 6.
    So that made me laugh.

  2. I don't know why that popped in my head anyway...


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