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Posted on Mar 12, 2012 in Food | 19 comments

Pick a Little, Talk a Little

I attempted to roast my first chicken on Friday. You would think that with three successful Thanksgiving turkeys under my belt, a little ol’ chicken wouldn’t be such a big deal, right? Well, that might have been true, but I was still pretty nervous about it.

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After all, I wasn’t going with my trusty, tried-and-true Good Eats Roast Turkey recipe (Alton Brown never fails me!). In fact, I was kind of winging it. And with this tiny bird sitting all lonely in my not-actually-a-roasting-pan, with too many recipes out there telling me all sorts of different things (baste it! bag it! butter! oil! 350*! 375*! oy!), I was worried that I would screw it all up.

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Of course, as it turned out, I had no reason to worry. I only ended up screwing it up a little bit! Hahaha.

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I put part of a yellow onion, half a lemon, and an entire head of garlic into the cavity of the chicken. Then, I mixed up an herbed butter (with an herb mix, salt, pepper, and onion powder) and put it in between the skin and meat, as well as all over the outside. As it turns out, trying to spread room temperature butter over a just-out-of-the-refrigerator-chicken? It is difficult. After much pawing at the poor bird, however, I sort of made it work. I sprinkled some more black pepper over top.

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Into a 350-degree oven I popped our dear friend, and this is where it got a little dicey. See, I am the Queen of Forgetting to Set the Kitchen Timer. So I had no idea how long the chicken had been in the oven when I thought to check on it (and pathetically faux-baste it with my broken basting brush). So I started poking around with a meat thermometer after a while, but with such a small bird I don’t think I was checking the right areas. I had been cooking my side dishes while the chicken was roasting, so once they were ready, my stomach was getting pretty impatient.

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So I pulled out the bird, knowing that it was probably too soon, and did a quick meat-check. Everything seemed hunky-dory! And to be fair, it was… at first. The first slices of breast meat were tender and moist, and the legs were cooked through. It was only once I cut down close to the breast bone that I had my “…oh.” moment. Yeeeeeah, not so much cooked. Oops. Luckily, I was only feeding Sean and myself, so we had eaten more than enough by the time we got down that far!

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At least it looked pretty good! Although I wish it had gotten a little more browned. Again, something that probably could have easily been accomplished had I not been so impatient, haha. Oh well, you live, you learn. I gotta get better about following recipes when it comes to things like… length of cooking time. I mean, people have been roasting chickens for decades. I’m pretty sure that by now they’ve got the whole “15 minutes per pound” equation down (or, you know, whatever the real equation is, hahaha).

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To be honest, this experience has taught me that while delicious, roasting a chicken takes a lot of time. To it’s credit, it was very easy. It’s not a matter of effort, just of patience. I will probably stick to picking up a cooked rotisserie chicken (or just dealing with chicken breasts) the next time I get a craving.

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Still, it’s something I’m definitely proud of attempting! And not only did it give me an excuse to make citrus green beans and mashed potatoes as sides, which is ALWAYS a good thing (I have the leftovers with me for lunch today, and am OMGSOEXCITED!), but I also made chicken stock for the first time with the remains! That was a fun experiment in and of itself. A few of my coworkers are always extolling the virtues and benefits of homemade broth, so I figured this was a great opportunity to play around. I’m not sure how beneficial it is yet, but it was tasty! Hopefully having flavorful stock on hand will help encourage me to get out of my cooking rut — I have been eating out A LOT lately!

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What is your best bird-roasting tip? Have you ever made your own stock/broth? Do you think it’s worth it?

PS: This Saturday, 3/17, is the DC Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon (as well as St. Patty’s Day, boyo!). Bloggers are coming down from far and wide to run it, and it’ll be my sister’s second half-marathon and my brother-in-law’s FIRST MARATHON! As for me? Well, I’ll be spectating my booty off. 😉

If you are running/spectating/just going to be around on that day, please come out and meet us for a blogger happy hour that evening! Whether you’re a blogger, reader, friend, or just general social-interactionist, you are more than welcome. Contact me at gretchen (at) honeyishrunkthegretchen.com for the details, and I hope to see you there!

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