Saturday, January 29, 2011

Time budget, solved!

Whole chickens go on sale every few weeks around here. I've discovered buying the whole bird not only is better for my wallet, but also for flavour since bones add the best of it. But as days get busier, there is not always time to carefully roast and baste a perfect chick. So if you don't care much for crunchy skin in the first place, here's a great busy-person-friendly version which never lets me down.

Rinse and thoroughly dry a 2 pound chicken. Toss some fresh pepper and kosher salt into the cavity, then stuff it with both sides of a halved lemon, a few garlic cloves also cut in half (don't even waste your time taking the skins off) and a handful of fresh herbs, my favourites are thyme and sage. Place in a slow cooker, season with a little more salt and pepper, close the lid, turn to high, and walk away. Four hours later, when all your running around is done, and you've spent quality time with the kiddies, carefully take this baby out of the slow cooker (it will probably fall apart on you), take it off the bone and serve with a quick baby greens salad. Or, use in tacos, on grilled sandwiches with roasted red pepper and feta, or stir into a creamy sauce for pasta.

If you have a little extra time in the late morning hour (should this chicken be for a 6 o'clock dinner, take the chicken out at about noon), rest the whole bird and lemon on the kitchen counter and allow them to come to room temperature before cooking. This shortens the cooking time, and more moisture is retained. In fact, you should always, with the exception of fish and ground meats, cook any cuts at room temperature. Less time in the oven is a very good thing.

See you in four hours, Mrs. Chicken, when your internal temperature reaches 180 F.

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