Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I've had this giant roasting chicken in my freezer for a couple of months. I acquired it from my grandma sometime last summer. She was cleaning out her freezer at the same time I happened to be visiting and she insisted that I take the bird with me. When I finally pulled it out to thaw in my fridge this weekend weekend, I had big plans for the chicken. I knew that I could stretch it into three meals for our family and so I built our meal plan around it. Yesterday afternoon, I hauled the chicken out to dress it up for the oven. That's when I noticed the date on the freezer bag: 2007. Ewww. A three year old chicken? Not cool. Still, there were no signs of freezer burn and it smelled fine, and so risk-taker that I am, I pressed on. Lucky for me, the chicken turned out just great. I used a recipe from the Fall 2007 version of Kraft Food & Family (coincidentally, the same year that this chicken met her demise). It called for rubbing a mixture of cream cheese and rosemary under the skin and then brushing with Italian dressing before baking. I've used this method of rubbing seasoning under the skin of chicken and turkey before, just not with cream cheese. I was intrigued.
The chicken was delicious. The potatoes were yummy. And the whole family ate this without complaint. I'd definitely make this again.
To begin, I softened a block of cream cheese, then mixed it together with plenty of sea salt, a teaspoon of rosemary, and some pepper.
This chicken didn't come from the store, so it needed a little extra attention. I needed to remove the neck and tail and some remaining "guts" (sorry for that description). Then I rinsed the whole thing and separated the skin from the breast, legs, and thighs, using a wooden spoon and my fingers. The skin stays on, but you have to loosen it from the meat so that you can rub the cream cheese mixture in between. Finally, I began carefully spooning the cream cheese mixture under the skin...
but then I ended up using my hands too so that it spread more evenly.
I drizzled Italian dressing all over the bird, then brushed it around so that the chicken was evenly coated. After that, I popped her into a 375 degree oven for a couple of hours (cooking time will depend on the size of the chicken and your oven).
Next, I went to work on the potatoes. I cut about 2 lbs. of red potatoes into pieces, drizzled them with around 1/4 cup of Italian dressing and tossed with more rosemary, salt, and pepper. Then I arranged them in a baking dish and slid them into the oven right next to the chicken. I stirred them a couple of times while they cooked to insure even browning.
When the potatoes were tender and browned I removed them from the oven and stirred in 6 slices of crumbled bacon and 2 sliced green onions. I really liked these potatoes! If you've got any leftover, they would be really good fried up next to some eggs the next morning too!
When the chicken was finished baking, I transferred it to a serving platter and arranged the potatoes around it before serving. I am aware that the skin on my chicken got pretty dark, but the meat was perfectly done and juicy and the potatoes piled around the bird made for a nice presentation.
After we finished eating, I wrapped up what was left of the whole chicken and put it into our garage fridge. It's probably easier to pick the remaining meat from the bone while it's still warm, but we had places to go. This morning I picked off the remaining meat for a couple more meals, chicken tortilla soup and a chicken casserole. You can also bag the meat and freeze it for a later date. You can even boil the whole carcass for broth. The possibilities with a whole roasted chicken are endless!
Here's the recipe that adapted from Kraft Food & Family Fall 2007:
Rosemary Roasted Chicken and Potatoes
prep time 20 min total time 1 hr 45 min makes 6 servings
8 oz cream Cheese, softened
2 tsp. dried rosemary leaves, divided
1 tsp. pepper, divided
salt, to taste
1 whole roasting chicken (3-1/2 lb.)
6 Tbsp.(or more) Italian Dressing, divided
2 lb. red potatoes (about 5), cut into 1-inch chunks
6 slices Bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled
2 green onions, sliced
HEAT oven to 375°F.
MIX cream cheese, 1 tsp. rosemary, salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Starting at neck of chicken, use handle of wooden spoon or fingers to carefully separate skin from meat of the breast, thighs and legs of chicken, being careful to not tear the skin. Spoon cream cheese mixture under skin; use fingers to push and spread some of the mixture out to thighs and legs. Place chicken in shallow pan. Brush with 2 Tbsp. dressing.
TOSS potatoes with remaining dressing, rosemary and pepper in separate pan. Bake chicken and potatoes 1-1/4 hours or until chicken is done (165ºF), stirring potatoes every 30 min. and basting the chicken occasionally.
TRANSFER chicken to large serving dish, reserving juices in pan. Let chicken stand 10 min. Meanwhile, add bacon and onions to potatoes; mix lightly. Spoon around chicken in dish. Skim fat from reserved chicken juices in pan; discard. Spoon juices over chicken and potatoes.