Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Perfect Anytime Roast Chicken

Two Sundays ago, I made this roast chicken for the first time. I couldn't believe how easy it was, or how well it turned out. Or how much it was exactly as comforting and full of fall flavors as I'd imagined, which is almost never the case with roast chicken which is often dry and lacking a little something. Nope. I overcooked this by a solid 20 minutes and it was still really, really good. And that juicy sauce you see up there? Pure heaven. I mean, it's beer+cider+chicken juice. What's not to like? You may find yourself sizing up possible dipping items, so plan well. Oh, and did I mention it cooks its own vegetables too?

Carrots and parnsips. Which taste like candy and yummier candy. Also, you can use your Dutch oven, not that stupid roasting pan which is stuck in a closet or on top of a cabinet or in some other highly inconvenient location. And it doesn't need a rack. It really is the perfect roast chicken, to be made anytime. Like tonight, if you're still trying to figure out your Rosh Hashanah menu (appley! sweet! double win!) Or on Sunday, when you have the time to roast a chicken. Or anytime! Now if only I can get it to wash its own dishes. Hmmm.

ROAST CHICKEN WITH BEER AND CIDER
from Lidia.

INGREDIENTS:
4 lb roasting chicken
2 tsp kosher salt
2 medium onions peeled and quartered
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into uniform sized pieces. Or a handful of baby carrots. Whatever.
2 medium parsnips, done like the carrots. Oh shut up. You'll like them.
2 T fresh sage leaves
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
1.5 C chicken stock
1.5 C beer or ale (make it something you like, and yeah that's a whole bottle)
1 C apple cider

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat the oven to 400. Get out your Dutch oven. Get your onions, carrots and parsnips and toss in the bottom of the Dutch oven. Add the cinnamon stick and cloves and sage. You're making a nest for the chicken, so make sure they're distributed kind of evenly. Prep that chicken, trimming off the nasty bits, removing whatever lurks inside, salt and pepper the whole beast inside and out. Plop the chicken on top of the veggie bits, breast side down. Pour in all the lovely liquids - stock, beer and cider. Stick the whole thing on the stove and simmer 15 minutes uncovered on the top of the stove. Then, flip him over, so the breast side is up. Then you pop it in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, basting at 10 minute intervals. Roast another 30 minutes (if it's getting too brown, cover it with your Dutch oven lid) again basting every 10-15 minutes. Check the temperature at each basting. Poultry should get to 165 but will continue to cook a few minutes after you take it out. Roast another 10-20 minutes if needed - mine never has, but Lidia's did. Remember to watch the top for overbrowning too! When done, remove the chicken and veggies to a platter. Then put the Dutch oven o'juice back on the stove and cook on medium high (a nice boil if you please) until the sauce reduces quite a bit (half mayhaps, if you are patient). You can be carving the chicken whilst the sauce is doing its thing. Serve with sauce. Resolve to make it weekly at least. It's that good and that easy.

Make it gluten-free:  Beer is NOT gluten-free, so you'll need to substitute. I used half cider and half stock to make up the beer amount and it turned out great!

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