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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Perfectly Simple - In Just ONE Pot

This week we're eating a lot of chicken. The whole roasters were on sale at our local grocer for just $3 (down from $10) and I just couldn't resist the bargain. While I find the process somewhat tedious (with my husbands aversion to any meat with a bone still in sight of it), breaking down the whole chicken is a fabulous way to stretch our budget and the protein across three to four of our week's meals.

It starts with a perfectly simple Lemon Roast Chicken (the leftover meat will later be transformed into chicken salad, chicken/sausage jambalaya and even chicken corn chowder – stay tuned this week for the recipes).

Perfectly Simple Lemon Roast Chicken
(Makes 1 Chicken)

1 whole roasting chicken (approx. 6 lbs.)
1 lemon, sliced into large chunks
1 large sweet onion, sliced into large chunks
1 large Russet potato, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1 cup chicken broth

Spice Rub:
1 tsp. Thyme, 1 tsp Rosemary,
½ tsp cayenne, ½ tsp lemon juice,
½ tsp dried basil and a dash of salt

First, clean the chicken and remove the innards. Pat dry with a towel and rub the spice rub into (or under) the skin of the chicken and then stuff it with the chopped onion and lemon. Set the stuffed and seasoned chicken into a medium-sized Dutch oven. Surround it with the potatoes and carrots and then cover and cook at 350 degrees for 2 to 2 1/2 hours (for a 6-7 lb. chicken or 1 1/2 to 2 hours for a smaller chicken).

**After 1 hour of cooking pour approximately 1 cup of chicken broth over the top of the chicken and re-cover to cook another 30-45 minutes. Then cook the last 30 or so minutes uncovered, letting the chicken skin crisp up but not long enough for the chicken to dry out.

Serve the chicken (and lemony broth) over a bed of noodles, side with roasted carrots and potatoes (and even a tossed salad). Enjoy!

TIP - After everyone has had their fill I break down the rest of the chicken into left-over containers for the rest of the week. The meat into one container and vegetables into another. Then the carcass and gravy get thrown into a separate pot, covered with water, and cooked on medium-low for a few hours. Once the stock has been cooked down, discard the bones and skin and refrigerate the condensed chicken stock. In the morning scrape the fat off the top and now you have healthy and flavorful chicken stock base for all your recipes. Just an addition of a few tablespoons can give any ordinary dish a little extra richness of flavor.


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