Last week at Fred Meyer, whole fryers were just $0.79/lb. I found a big fat 5-lb one for about $3.75, plus I had a $2 off any Fred Meyer meat purchase coupon (Rewards coupon), so I went ahead and used that. (How cool is that – a chicken for $1.75?!)
I used to always cook my chickens in the slow cooker. After all, it was simple and tasty. But there was one problem. I missed that nice crispy skin you'd get from roasting it in the oven. (Yes, I'll admit it, I like the skin – though I rarely eat it this way!) Using a little help from my trusty '50s Betty Crocker cookbook, I've come up with a method that's worked for me, so I thought I'd snap a few photos and share it with you.
Step one. I cut up an onion and put it in the bottom of the casserole dish. As this is for flavor only, I left the pieces rather large. Then I salted and peppered.
Step two. I cleaned the chicken – removing all the icky inside parts. (Warning: this is not for the faint of heart!) Once I made the mistake of forgetting to remove the middle parts and it was a big yucky mess. So…make sure to clean it out! Then I lightly rinsed the chicken in cold water, and patted it dry with paper towels. I put the chicken breast-side down on the onions. Ms. Crocker told me to cook it breast-side up, but I find keeping it down brings all the flavor and moistness into the white meat. But do what you want.
Step three. I make a very simple stuffing. First, I sprinkle a good amount of Kosher salt and pepper into the cavity. Then I stuff a peeled apple into the cavity as well as a couple carrots and celery. This is all for flavor – I don't end up eating any of this (though I suppose you could). I then brush olive oil onto the skin and sprinkle generously with dried basil. I tried adding a little poultry seasoning tonight too, and that worked out pretty well.
Step four. Put in a 375-degree oven for about two hours. If you're only cooking a 2-3 pound bird, I'd check it after about an hour and a half. My 5 pounder here was definitely done at the two hour mark! You'll want to make sure that it's at 180 degrees for safety.
Step five. EAT. I like dark meat – always have. It's just yummier. So I cut myself off a leg. To compensate for indulging in some of the fatty skin (and also because I'm trying to up my produce intake), this chicken dinner was enjoyed with roasted sweet potato, organic spring mix salad, and a couple cherry tomatoes. I finished it off with a handful of grapes. Usually I would've made mac 'n cheese or stuffing, but again, I'm trying to make simple healthy choices that will promote my weight loss.
Curious to know what this dinner cost? With the produce and everything, I probably spent about $8 total on this meal (and that's a pretty high estimate). Not too shabby for a healthful, delicious meal, eh? AND we have a fair amount of the chicken left over, so this will easily make two meals. I noticed in a past Martha Stewart magazine I have there's a recipe for chicken noodle soup. I just might soup the rest of my chicken (and if I do so, I'll be sure to let you know about it)!
Do you have any tips for roasting chicken? What do you like to do with whole fryers?