Expanding my Comfort Zone with Pan Roasted Chicken

First Roast Chicken with a Mediterranean Salad
First Roast Chicken with a Mediterranean Salad

There is so much to learn. The knowledge I have yet to attain is massive which at times seems daunting, but is definitely exciting. I recently bought a whole chicken at the grocery store without a real plan for cooking it. I knew I had to cook it today, or run the risk of it going bad, the the question was how? I didn’t have a roasting pan or rack but breaking it down to cook didn’t really appeal to me. The Alton Brown in my decided to improvise and use what I already had to roast the chicken and try something new.

For dinner, along with the chicken I opted to make a Mediterranean salad to add color to my dish as well as a tasty side component. Eating a dish of only roasted chicken didn’t seem that appetizing to me. My first step was to establish my mise en place as chefs say.

First Roast Chicken: Ingredients
First Roast Chicken: Ingredients

My roasted chicken consisted of a rub made out of salt, pepper, paprika, minced garlic, and olive oil, rubbed generously inside and outside of the chicken and under the skin for better flavoring. I decided to cut up some potatoes and onions to accompany the chicken as it roasted in the oven. I also noticed that my cherry tomatoes were nearing a point where I would have to throw them out, so the frugal gourmet in me put them in as well as they would wilt down while roasting releasing their remaining juices and adding flavor.

My 4lb. bird was placed into my cast iron pan with all of the aforementioned components as my oven was pre-heated to 375 degrees. I covered everything with aluminum foil and waited for the oven.

First Roast Chicken: Ready for the Oven
First Roast Chicken: Ready for the Oven
First Roast Chicken: Ready for the Oven
First Roast Chicken: Ready for the Oven

Once the oven reached the desired temperature I put the pan into the oven and set my timer for one hour. This was an arbitrary number I set so I could start checking on my chicken to see how done it was.

After 1 hour, I checked on my chicken with my digital thermometer and saw that it still had a long way to go. I decided to give it another 30 minutes, and then another 30 minutes after that. After 2 hours it was ready. I pulled it out to rest for a few minutes and was quite surprised by the amount of juice that had collected, spilling over the sides and causing quite a mess.

First Roast Chicken: Ready to Eat
First Roast Chicken: Ready to Eat

While the chicken was resting, I peeled and chopped my cucumber and tomatoes and mixed them in a bowl with salt and olive oil. I would add mozzarella balls once plated.

Once everything was ready, I plated my meal, which I realized was crowding the plate with too much food. My greedy American stomach had gotten the best of me instead of portioning a reasonable meal with the option of going back for seconds.

First Roast Chicken: Plated
First Roast Chicken: Plated

All and all, my meal was very good and flavorful, a nice change of pace from my usual steak meals. The Mediterranean style salad was light and refreshing. Another great benefit of cooking an entire chicken was that there was plenty for leftovers and the bones I could save for a stock which I hope to make once I have more bones.

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