Roast Chicken and Other Stories

So, I was going to post my second Dude Fude, but I just checked out a book at the library (more on that later) called, brilliantly, Roast Chicken and Other Stories.  Blurbed as, “The Most Useful Cookbook Of All Time,” it’s written by Simon Hopkinson, and I had read about it, then forgotten it and just happened upon it today.  Yea!  I love it when that happens. 

I just wanted you to know how he does his Roast Chicken and what he says about the importance of a good bird.

There is chicken, and there is chicken.  The French chicken, from Bresse, is the finest in the world.  It is nurtured and cosseted like no other living creature (save, perhaps, the Japanese Kobe cattle, which are bred better and given a daily massage).  The poulet de Bresse is a “controlled” breed in France and carries its own special criteria…as wine does…It has a superb flavor, due to its diet and upbringing…”

You can start to understand why French food is so damn good.  So Simon puts a little more effort into his RC than you might have, but if you’re going to try something a little bit, this is the one to make.

1/2 cup butter, room temp.

4 lb. chicken

salt and pepper

1 lemon

thyme or tarragon, or a mixture

1 garlic clove, peeler and crushed.


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees

Smear butter with your hands all over the bird.

Put the chicken in a roasting pan that will accommodate it with room to spare.

Season liberally, with the herbs and garlic inside the cavity, together with the squeezed-out lemon halves.

Roast the chicken in the oven for 10-15 minutes.  

Baste (scoop up juices and pour over the chicken), then turn the oven down to 375 degrees and roast a further 30-45 minutes with occasional basting.

Turn off oven, leaving door ajar, and leave the chicken to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.  

You can use the juice in the pan as “gravy.”  If you want to add extra flavor, you can scoop the garlic and herbs out of the chicken cavity, stir them into the gravy, and heat through, then strain before serving.

This is a fabulous cookbook, even though I don’t plan to cook from the Brains chapter, I can’t wait to get to Custard.

Next up:  Mashed potatoes (and why I love and revere libraries).

food, Uncategorized

Roast Chicken

Okay.  Recipe numero uno.

Roast Chicken.  It’s easy, it’s quick, it will be much better than the one that’s been sitting around at the store in a plastic container, and you can use the leftovers to make chicken salad.
How easy?  Really, really, super duper easy.

I’m going to add another law of Dude Fude, and it’s the most important one.

Buy the highest quality ingredients you can.

It will be more expensive, but this is something you are going to eat, not put in the garage and use once a year. That means, it should be organic, stamped with something that says so, cage-free, free range, grass fed, and if possible, some marking by the humane society. Trust me, this is the foundation of the whole shebang and for why your food will taste so good. You wouldn’t use cardboard as a foundation for your house, right? Don’t skimp here unless you must.


A whole chicken (around 4 lbs)

one bunch of carrots

two big handfuls of red potatoes

Take anything that may be in your oven out and turn it on to 400 degrees (here after called preheating).

1.  Find a baking pan that shallow and has edges (the shallower the pan, the crisper the skin). The best thing is a cookie sheet with edges, but a lasagne pan will do, or even a pie pan. You are going to roast the chicken in this pan sitting on top of carrots and pototoes. Chicken fat will make the vegetables very delicious, but will drip all over the place, hence the the sides.  Do not let chicken parts be spilling over the sides or you will soon have a roaring chicken fire in your oven.

2.  Wash carrots and potatoes.  It’s good to give them a little scrub with a clean scrubby.  Cut potatoes in quarters unless they are the tiny ones, then cut only in half.  Slice carrots in half, long wise so they have one long flat side.  (If you’re going to make chicken salad with the leftovers, chop one carrot now and put aside).

3. Lay carrots and potatoes in a single layer along the bottom of your pan. I usually put the carrots in the center and the potatoes around the outside. (The bigger your veggie layer, the more yummy veggies you will end up with).  If you cut up too much stuff, don’t cram it in.  Wrap it up and put in your fridge.

IDEA You can eat the carrots raw or dipped them in humus or peanut butter.

4.  Wad up several paper towels and put them near the sink.  Have the filled pan nearby.  Unwrap chicken. Take yucky inards out of the cavity and throw away.  Rinse chicken off with cold water, pat dry with paper towels, and lay on top of carrots. Breast side up.  Sal the whole thing all over.

Put in oven and cook for about an hour.  When you prick the thigh with a fork, the juices should run clear.  If you cook a bigger chicken, cook 8 extra minutes for each extra pound.

Let rest outside of the oven for 15 minutes before eating.

IDEA After dinner, pull all the chicken off the carcass, and shred (rip in pieces with fingers) and put in a bowl.  Add mayo, chopped carrot, salt, pepper.

If you want to get a little fancy, you can add nuts, or celery.  They’re are many variations.  You can skip the carrot and put in pickles or capers, or grapes and nuts.  It’s nice to have one crunchy thing and one sweet thing.

Finally, roast chicken has about a million variations.  But, let’s not talk about those now.

Enjoy!  Let me know how it goes.