"Goals are dreams with deadlines" -- Diana Scharf

Friday, April 19, 2013

Frugal Foods: Herb-Roasted Chicken



If you've been following this blog for some time, you probably know that Mr. W. and I have been trying to keep our grocery budget in check while also eating primarily local and seasonal foods.  Since chicken is the least expensive meat option, we have been eating lots of it. 

Recently, we started roasting a chicken every Sunday night and using the leftovers for several meals throughout the week.  It's an easy and inexpensive way to simplify meal preparation.  So far, we've used the leftover chicken for tacos/burritos, stir-fry, pasta dishes, panini sandwiches, soup, and various green salads. 

Mr. W. and I have different approaches to roasting a chicken.  When it's his turn to roast the chicken, he soaks it in brine overnight so that it remains moist while cooking.  I don't do the brine thing, but I brush the skin with herb-infused butter.  Either approach results in a juicy, flavorful chicken. 

I know what you must be thinking: J.W., I eat chicken because it's supposed to be healthier for me.  But now, you're telling me that I should slather butter on it?  Doesn't that defeat the purpose of eating chicken?

Really, this recipe does not use that much butter.  A little goes a long way, and I think the flavor boost is well worth the extra calories.  But I'll admit that this is not the most health-conscious way to prepare a chicken.  If you don't eat/don't like dark meat chicken, you can simply substitute bone-in split breasts for the whole roaster chicken.  But seriously, if you don't eat dark meat chicken, I think you're missing out. 

The following recipe was ever-so-slightly adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (golly gee, that's a creative book title).

  • 1 3 - 3 1/2 lb whole chicken
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning

1. If chicken came with giblets, remove and discard (or, use them to make homemade stock).  Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels.  Use string or twine to tie the legs together.

2. In a small saucepan, combine butter, garlic, salt, and all herbs.  Melt over low heat to infuse butter with herb flavor.  Place chicken on rack in a large roasting pan.  Brush butter over chicken.

3. Roast chicken, uncovered, at 375 degrees.  A 3 lb. chicken will take approximately 1 1/4 hours to cook.  Internal temperature should be 180-185 degrees.  Let chicken rest approximately 10 minutes before carving.

*If you do not have a roasting pan, you can probably make do with what you have in your kitchen.  For instance, stack a metal cooling rack on top of a metal cookie sheet and use that as a makeshift roasting pan.  This will allow the juices to drain off while the chicken is cooking.

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