Saturday, October 4, 2008
Cheap and Easy, just like your Mom part I
The mack-daddy of making one thing and getting a ton of meals out of it is a whole chicken. Even if you spring for the organic, grain-fed, college-educated chicken, you're still at around $8 for at least three meals.
Whole chicken can be adapted to whatever flavors you like. Take your chicken, rinse it out, make sure you remove the plastic bag of giblets in the cavity, and dry it off with paper towels. Rub olive oil or butter all over the skin (top and bottom). Sprinkle with salt and pepper and any spices you like. If you have a roasting rack, put the chicken in it. If you don't, cut up some onions or celery and put them in the bottom of a pan and put the chicken on top of them.
The temperatures and times for chicken come from a great recipe from Mark Bittman in his 'How to Cook Everything", which I like because it makes the skin crispy and the meat tender. He says:
1.Heat over to 500.
2.Put chicken breast side down and roast for about 25 min.
If the skin looks crispy, turn the chicken over. The easiest way to do it is take the handle of a wooden spoon, put it in the cavity, and then spin it with tongs and put down.
3.Lower the heat to 325. Roast for about a hour more, or until the temperature reaches 160-165. If you don't have a thermometer, you can make a cut near the thigh and see if the juices run clear, or wiggle the drumstick- if it moves freely, it's probably done.
4. Tip the bird up so the juices run into the pan, then let it rest for at least 5 minutes.
Carve it up! You can strain the pan juices and serve it with that, or make gravy if you're feeling super homespun. If you don't, don't feel guilty about it.
That's meal number one. You could even have thrown some cut up peeled potatoes in the pan after you turn the heat down and your meal is done.
Leftovers ideas will come....when else? Tomorrow.