Weeknight Meal: Roasted Chicken

chicken-dinner.jpg

I know I’m always seeking that perfect go-to meal for those busy school and work days. Roasted chicken with potatoes has been a staple in our house for years. It’s easy, something to feel good about eating, packed in protein and the kids are sold on it.

Chicken is not only a powerhouse of protein, it is also a very good source of vitamins and minerals. Chicken is rich in Vitamin B6, which helps with the metabolism of protein and red blood cells as well as Vitamin D which aids in calcium absorption and bone strengthening. The amino acid tryptophan increases serotonin levels in the brain and helps us sleep better. Chicken is rich in niacin, this vitamin is vital to the skin, digestive tract and nervous system. It helps convert food to energy and promotes skin repair. Chicken is also a healthy source of selenium, a mineral that can aid in the prevention of cancer by repairing free radicals in the body. It also helps maintain normal thyroid functions and the immune system.

When buying chicken please make it organic! Chicken is one of the most important products to purchase organic and it is fully worth the extra couple of bucks. I find the best deal in town is picking a bird up at Costco. Organic chicken does not contain the toxic, artificial hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides that commercially raised birds do. Antibiotics used in commercially-raised chicken may be one of the factors that cause germ resistance in some people. Commercially-raised chicken may also be exposed to other contaminants, like heavy metals that appear in some commercial chicken food. Organic chicken also tends to be less fatty than commercially raised chicken.

The best part about a good roasted chicken is that the leftover meat can be used for meals like tacos and enchiladas. It is also simple to make homemade bone broth. The mineral rich infusion is a powerful health tonic that is healing to the gut and boosts immune health. Put the remnants and bones from the chicken into the crockpot and cover in filtered water with 2tsp of salt. Keep overnight on low. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Strain using a fine metal strainer to remove all the bits of bone. When cool enough, store in a gallon size glass jar in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for later use. I drink bone broth in the morning warm with turmeric, ghee and 1/2 tsp of salt.

SIMPLE ROASTED CHICKEN

*Modified from Thomas Keller’s Simple Roasted Chicken recipe

Preheat oven to 425°F. Rinse chicken in cold water, then dry very well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better.

Salt and pepper cavity, no need to truss bird with kitchen twine.

Now, salt and pepper chicken — I like to rain salt over the bird so it has a nice uniform coating that will result in crisp, salty, flavorful skin (about 1 tablespoon). When it’s cooked, you should still be able to make out salt baked onto the crisp skin.

Roast it until it’s done (165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh), 50 to 60 minutes.


SIMPLE ROASTED POTATOES

This recipe is adapted from the Chocolate and Zucchini blog. I love Clotilde’s recipes and like her, I aspire to cook a well-rounded meal for my family. For the duck fat required in this recipe, I use all natural Maple Leaf Farms (found at Whole Foods). Other than being delicious, duck fat is high in beneficial unsaturated fats, and its chemical composition is closer to olive oil than to butter.

  • 2 pounds of red baby potatoes
  • 2 tbs of duck fat
  • 2 teaspoon of coarse sea salt
  • Some finely chopped rosemary if available

Preheat over to 410°F. Scrub potatoes and peel them in alternative stripes so that strips of skin remain. Cut the potatoes into 3/4 inch chunks. Place them in a saucepan large enough to accommodate them, cover with cold water, and add 1 teaspoon coarse salt. Set over high heat, cover, bring to a low boil, then lower the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.

Once the water is at boiling point, pour the duck fat onto a baking sheet and place in the over so that the fat and baking sheet will heat up. Continue boiling the potatoes for 5 minutes and then drain the potatoes and return them to the saucepan. Add the fine sea salt and rosemary, if using. Fun Part! Place a lid on the saucepan. Holding the lid firmly shut with both hands, shake the saucepan vigorously for a few seconds, until the surface of the potato chunks is fuzzy; this will help the formation of a crust.

 

Remove the baking sheet from the oven, pour the potatoes onto the sheet, and stir well to coat with the fat. Return to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, flipping the potatoes halfway through, until cooked through (when you insert the tip of a knife in one of the pieces, it should meet no resistance), crusty, and golden. If you want a little more color on them, you can switch to broil for the final few minutes Enjoy!

Allie Fleming