Simple Roasted Chicken & Stock
'May contain giblets' is something that probably scared me away the first few times I perused the poultry section. I think there's a whole conglomerate of people that are terrified of touching raw chicken, and I sort of get it-- the cavity of a bird can be a frightening place, a little cave where bits of something unknown are going to appear and you really want an adult to come deal with the situation. I don't know how this obsession got started, but I rarely go 3 weeks before a timer goes off in my head telling me it's time to roast another one. And every time I do, almost nothing provides me with the same sense of accomplishment, and it really shouldn't.
The thing is, it's insanely easy. Even if you aren't interested in stuffing or rubbing, a simple sprinkling of salt and pepper is enough. You can be luxurious and coat it with butter (the photos here were done this way), or keep it simple and just use a little olive oil. The options for herbs, spices and added flavor extras are endless. You can also set this on top of any number of vegetables to give you an accompanying side dish that caramelizes so nicely, thanks to all of that great chicken juice.
One of the best parts of roasting chicken is using the carcass (someone please come up with a better word) to make stock. I can't say enough about how good homemade stock is, how much more flavor is added to your favorite soup or pasta dish when it comes from your kitchen. I try to do this at least once or twice a month, and freeze containers of it to pull out when I'm craving chicken noodle soup.
Simple Roasted Chicken
1 whole organic chicken, 3 pounds
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
herbs-- rosemary, thyme, or parsley
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
Put a cast-iron skillet or dutch oven pot on a low rack in the oven and heat the oven to 500 degrees. Rub the chicken all over with the oil or butter and sprinkle it generously with salt and pepper, and any herbs or rubs you'd like it. Stuff the inside of the cavity with garlic, lemon and herbs.
When the oven and skillet are hot, carefully put the chicken in the skillet, breast side up. Roast for 15 minutes, then turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees. Continue to roast until the bird is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into part of the thigh reads 160 degrees, about 40-45 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a platter and let it rest for at least an excruciating 5-10 minutes. Carve and serve, or eat the entire skin off before you even sit down.
1 chicken carcass, bones and fat
2 stalks celery, in large pieces
2 carrots, in large pieces
1 large onion, quartered (skin left on)
4 cloves garlic (skin left on)
1 tbsp. whole peppercorn
2 bay leaves
bunch herbs-- thyme, rosemary or parsley
4 quarts water
Optional for a more spiced broth - 1 tbsp. whole coriander, jalapeno, or dried guajillo peppers
Combine all items in a large stockpot, bring to a boil and then lower heat, allowing it to simmer 2-3 hours. Pour broth through fine mesh sieve into containers (like these containers I hoard every time I order Pho), and use or freeze up to 6 months.
Quick cheater version: if you're feeling a $4.99 rotisserie chicken from the grocery store more than roasting at home, they work perfectly for stock... once you finish destroying it in your car on the way home. Can use the same recipe swapping out turkey for chicken as well.