As autumn advances, my cooking habits shift from an orgiastic frenzy of enjoying the summer bounty of freshness to a slower, more relaxed enjoyment of comfort foods. I’ll make one foundational staple, like roast chicken, and use elements of that meal into other meals throughout the week.
Cooking leftovers? In a sense, yes, but more like using some components to enliven a future meal. Over the course of the next while (not really sure about a fixed time period because Canadian winters are looooong lol), I’ll start with a basic element and give options on how to dress up the rest of the week with a variety of meals to make the idea of “leftovers” more interesting.
This is Dinner Foundation.
Garlic-Oregano Roast Chicken
For the Garlic-Oregano Wet Rub:
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 cup, loosely packed fresh oregano, or 1/3 cup dried oregano)
2 Tbsp softened butter
4 Tbsp cold pressed canola oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
1/2 tsp salt
In a medium bowl, combine the garlic, oregano, butter, oil and salt with a fork, mashing and stirring until uniform. Set aside.
For the chicken:
2-1/2 kg (5-6 lb) whole chicken
Garlic-Oregano Wet Rub
1 large or 2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 medium parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup water
Preheat oven to 190C/375F.
In a roasting pan, scatter the chopped onion, celery, carrot and parsnips in an even layer over the bottom.
Tuck the wing tips under the rest of the wings and rub the wet rub under the skin of the breasts, massaging it down over the entire length of the breasts. Rub more inside the cavity and over the top of the skin. Tie the legs together with string.
Pour the stock and water along the edge of the pan to just fill the pan halfway up the vegetable layer. Place the roasting pan in the oven for 30 minutes. At that point, baste the chicken with the roasting juices (which will be a mixture of the stock, and beginnings of the chicken’s roasting juices). Return to the oven and baste every 15 minutes. After 90 minutes of total cooking time, or until the juices run clear from a knife being inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, remove from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes. I transfer the whole chicken to a tray while I prepare the gravy from the pan drippings and roasting vegetables.
For the gravy:
Pan drippings and roasting vegetables (onions, carrots, celery, parnips)
1 cup chicken stock
2 Tbsp softened butter + 5 tsp flour, worked together with your fingers into a “beurre manie” used to thicken, as needed (you may not need all of the prepared beurre manie, but it’s good to have enough. You can refrigerate the rest for up to two weeks for future thickening)
Transfer the vegetables and pan drippings to a blender and purée until smooth. Pour the purée into a small pan and whisk in the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp of the prepared “beurre manie” at a time, ensuring the gravy returns to a simmer and thickens before adding more. Add enough to achieve a desired thickness.
I tend to serve this simply over a batch of mashed potatoes. This chicken is rather large for a reason. It’s designed to have leftovers. If you have a big family, you may want to roast 2 chickens. Trust me, there’s more recipes to come to use up the chicken and gravy. Stay tuned!
Did I mention this recipe makes LOTS of gravy, so go nuts! 😉