Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I'm Chicken About Chicken

My last venture into chicken wasn't terrible. It cooked well and stayed tasty. I wanted to step it up and do roast chicken but I didn't want to use the oven for 1.5 hours like many recipes require. I found a different recipe that roasted chicken breasts on a cookie sheet for 35 minutes. So I figured, if I put separate pieces into a roasting dish then maybe it'd take 35-45 min? I was wrong.

I should have known something would go wrong when all the chicken at Whole Foods came in 5 lbs no less. I wanted something closer to 3 lbs - just enough to feed us and not too thick for cooking. My roasting dish ended being super crowded. But first the successful part...
Can't mess up vegetables
Roasting Veggies
I did a round of brussels sprouts first. The edges turned crispy and yum in 35 minutes. The second pan was yellow squash slices, mushrooms, and onion wedges. The  squash and mushrooms roasted up in no time. The mushrooms were tasty morsels of mushroom goodness.

Cut veggies into uniform pieces. Toss generously in olive oil. Spread onto cookie sheet without overcrowding (this is where I went wrong with the chicken). Add salt & pepper. Roast for 35 minutes or until edges begin to brown at 350F.

Chicken: Less than a Success
"Worse case scenario, we'll order a pizza" said the husband. Oh yeah, really? Thanks. Roasting chicken should be relatively simple (in theory).

Pat the chicken dry. Coat with olive oil on both sides. Season generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Bake in 350F oven skin side up for 35 minutes (if your pieces are evenly spaced on a cookie sheet and not touching each other unlike me).

Of course, I didn't follow my own directions. I crammed all the pieces into the Le Creuset roaster pan and stuffed veggies all around thinking I was adding flavor. I was not. What I was doing was adding  heat blockers.

So it didn't turn out horribly. The chicken cooked and was tasty, etc. It just took WAY longer than I thought (over an hour?). I also took the chicken out about 3 times (again not helpful) as I was being indecisive about what to do (should I just take out the pieces onto a sheet pan??).

At any rate the whole process took so long that by the time the chicken was done, I didn't really feel like taking photos because I was STARVING. Here's the one:
The Full Monty Ingredients
  • Whole chicken quartered. (I ended up freezing a breast and drumstick for later so probably used 3.5 lbs)
  • 2-3 small/medium onions (I liked the smaller ones cut into wedges)
  • your favorite fresh herb (optional but recommended for the chicken)
  • olive oil to coat the meat and veggies
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • vegetables for roasting. I used 2 yellow squash, 2 portobello mushrooms, 3 small onions, 1 pint of brussels sprouts. 
  • a carb side (I used seasoned box rice)
  • chicken and vegetables should roast in 350F oven for 30-45 minutes

Lessons learned:
  • chicken cooks quicker as pieces spread out on a pan
  • be generous with your seasoning on both sides 
  • use herbs
  • don't keep opening the oven. it's counterproductive. 

I am not scared off! I'll try again next time.

Prep Time: 30-45 min
Cook Time: Should be less than an hour for chicken, 30 min for veggies
Clean Time: 15 min


lavenderpug said...

that looks very tasty! chicken can be tough--mine always has multiple stab wounds from me checking whether it's done. at what temperature did you roast the veggies? i'm sorry if i missed it.

lobster said...

@lavenderpug: Oh yes, always with the stab wounds. Good call on the veggie temp - I just edited the post. It is at 350F since I didn't want to change the temp on the oven.

BigAppleNosh said...

Looks yum! Still too scared to try making one though.

Jessica said...

I made the mistake of overcrowding my chicken the first time I roasted one. Turns out all that does is make me MAD!

PS- Found your blog via lavenderpug's. Oh and I have a westie too so I knew I had to be fate. :D

Anonymous said...

Oh, those veggies look awesome! Yum!