I have to confess that I’ve never roasted a chicken. I’ve been meaning to for a while, but it always seemed like such an undertaking. Even after I intellectually understood that it was simple, I was still intimidated.
This recipe for roast chicken is really simple. It calls for making a simple compound butter with fresh tarragon, parsley or chives. Instead I used the rest of the garlic and herb compound butter I made a couple of weeks ago.
With trepidation I approached the weird, slimy critter on the cutting board. I had no idea that they left the asshole on chickens. But, apparently, they do. I didn’t need to see that. Once I figured out which way was up I didn’t have much trouble sliding the butter under the skin of the breasts.
As for a cooking vessel, I do own a v-rack for roasting chicken, but it didn’t fit into any of the roasting pans I have. Great. One more thing I need to buy. So I used the alternate directions for people without a v-rack. I used a flat rack and cut up an onion and threw that and some frozen baby carrots in the bottom to hold up the chicken. Then I brushed the chicken with melted butter and popped it in the oven. The instructions call for cooking the chicken for 40 minutes at 375 degrees and then increasing the heat to 450 degrees for another 30 minutes. The result was a fairly gorgeous bird. There was just a few burned bits on the skin where the herbs were concentrated, but it didn’t effect the taste.
While the chicken rested, I turned to the recipe for Quick Gravy for Roast Chicken. It calls for sauteeing onion in butter and then adding flour. Meanwhile you’re supposed to add chicken broth to the roasting pan to get all the bits and juices and then combine it with the roux and onions. The book added that if you use onions and carrots to support the chicken you can add those vegetables to the gravy to improve the flavor. Instead of following all the steps, I just threw the roasting pan onto a burner and added flour to the roasted veggies and then broth, and the bay leaves and tarragon called for in the recipe.
I had decided (or assumed) that it meant for the vegetables to be blended with the gravy, so I got out my stick blender and stuck it in the gravy (after removing the bay leaves.) But the pan was too big and the level of liquid wasn’t high enough for the blender to work. So I had to pour the boiling liquid into another bowl and then hit it with the blender. It took a long time to get all the vegetables chopped up. Justin was watching me with a fascination that made me a little defensive of my improvised gravy making technique. The result looked a little weird, but it tasted great. The chicken was juicy and really flavorful. It didn’t really need the gravy, but it was good with it as well.