Being the half-assed vegetarian that I am, I am pretty inexperienced at cooking meat. But I want to expand my culinary skills, and meat is a fairly large group of cuisine. Not too big, but big enough that I should perhaps dip my toe in the water. :) Well, I decided to tackle a roast chicken, loosely based on Ina Garten's recipe. It was not as intimidating as I thought it would be. That's right, this mostly veggie gal took that chicken by the ... wings and showed it who's boss! Thou shalt be cooked, chicken! And thou wilst like it!
So here we have the dead bird. Doesn't it sound so lovely when you put it like that? Sometimes it doesn't even register that it really is a dead bird. But indeed it is. This bird, since I purchased it at New Seasons, was at some point in its little bird life wandering around outside, perhaps picking at some worms, pondering the existence of life as a chicken. "Why can't I fly away and be with that blue jay, floating on the breezes? It would be so great to float fancy-free among the clouds, and then I could..." WHACK! Mr. Chicken's head was then cut off, and he is now sitting in my roasting pan. Sorry, Mr. Chicken. C'est la vie.
I reached into Mr. Chicken's dead carcass (how delightful!) and pulled out his innards, now all neatly packaged together in a tidy little sack instead of placed properly in his body to help him carry out his chicken-ey life. My dad made me do this to a turkey when I was about 8 and it scarred me for life (well, life up until this point). I was so revolted at this task he gave me that put on a glove before reaching in and fishing around inside a butchered, dead bird, my hand frantically flailing around in desperate search for this dreadful little bundle of guts. Blech. See? I told you I was traumatized. So that's why I was so proud of myself for just doing it with this chicken. I didn't even wear a glove! After Mr. Chicken was thoroughly de-guttified and rinsed, I brushed him thoroughly with melted butter, and then stuffed him with quartered lemons, onions and garlic. Then I coated the outside thoroughly with S&P.
Per Ina's recipe, Mr. Chicken was united, if only temporarily, with Mr. Bacon. I didn't really see the point of wrapping the chicken with bacon, but since this was my first foray, I didn't want to mess with the recipe.
See? There's Mr. Chicken in Mr. Oven. Ok, this personification thing is getting a little ridiculous.
I roasted Mr. Chicken at 425 until the bacon was done on the outside. Unfortunately, the underside of the bacon was still undercooked, so I just took it all off and put it off to the side in the pan, where it cooked some more and got really crispy.
That's ok, I like bacon when it's almost burned. I continued to roast him for a while longer, and the skin started to get nice and golden brown. My crappy old thermometer didn't register that he was done, so I kept having to put him back in the oven. The skin was crisping up, so I covered him with foil. I pulled him out of the oven after about 1.5 hours(ish) and my thermometer still said he wasn't done, but I pulled his leg and it nearly twisted off in my hand, so he was done.
I let him rest for a long time--about an hour--until I was ready to carve. And carve I did! See?
Perhaps Mr. Chicken needs to hear Taps. He is definitely done. And, coming from a mostly vegetarian, this chicken was GOOD!
I dumped all the juice into a saucepan and whisked in some flour to make a delicious (and I do mean delicious!) gravy. Maybe this meat thing is something I should do more often!
Coming soon: homemade chicken stock! I know you're waiting with bated breath for it!