"Kusina" = Kitchen; "Manang" = older sister

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Roast Chicken with Baked Potatoes

Last night's supper menu:

Roast Chicken with homemade gravy
Baked Potatoes
French Bread

(No dessert! We usually do not have space in our tummy for dessert after a heavy hearty meal like this). I meant to serve steamed broccoli as well but I totally forgot to prepare it towards the last 30 minutes of baking the chicken, potatoes, and bread.

In preparing these, I started about 3-1/2 hrs prior to my targeted time for meal. The photos in my slideshow below are from my first year of roasting chicken, as I blogged about in my old kusina. I have prepared this numerous times now and I have developed my method to come up with menus that would maximize the use of oven and time.

I used one of our very own homegrown chickens. For the potatoes, I used big Russet potatoes, which might have been 1-pounder each. This is my second attempt at baking potatoes. The first was a disaster in that it was not fully cooked. This time I made sure the potatoes were cooked by baking them for two hours.

I was not quite organized with my how-to's below, because I proceeded as I would with actual preparation.

Roast Chicken:

1 whole garlic, cloves separated
1 tbsp rosemary
1 whole chicken (3-4 lbs)
1 bunch lemongrass
1 whole onion
(optional) 1 lemon rind (use the juice in something else)
coarse kosher salt, sprinkled onto wet chicken skin
garlic salt, sprinkle onto chicken
1 onion, cut into chunks
3 carrots, cut into chunks
1 cup celery stalks cut into chunks
2 bay leaves
10 or so peppercorns
1-1/4 cup water (or enough to cover the veggies)

Roast the garlic cloves (I now use a whole garlic to prepare the paste) for about 7 minutes in the oven toaster (broil setting) or until skin cracks open and you smell the aroma. Make a paste by mashing (I now use the garlic press for that purpose) and add rosemary.

Pre-heat oven to 350 deg F. Separate skin from underlying meat using blunt instruments. Insert some paste underneath and massage over the skin to distribute. Wipe cavity with paper towel and apply garlic paste as well.

Insert lemongrass (tanglad), lemon rind, and whole onion into the cavity. Sprinkle kosher salt all over chicken.

In a baking dish, place the chunks of onion, carrots, and celery. Add the water.

Preferably using a wire rack, place the chicken above the veggies. Cover with foil. Bake at lower 3rd rack of oven for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the french bread in the bread machine.

Once BM has started, start preparing the potatoes.

After 30 minutes has passed since baking chicken, remove foil. If skin is relatively dry now, spray with olive oil and sprinkle garlic salt. Continue baking uncovered for browning.

Baked Potatoes
From baked potatoes

4-5 big Russet potatoes (mine was about almost a pound each)
olive oil, sprayed (can be bought from grocery store)
kosher salt

Wash the potatoes gently with a brush. Pat dry with paper towels. Pierce with fork at 1.5 inch intervals for the steam to escape while baking. Spray with olive oil. Sprinkle all over with kosher salt. Place on a wire rack (cookie cooling rack) then onto a cookie sheet.

When the chicken has been cooking for an hour, reposition to make space and place the potatoes beside the chicken. Set your timer for 1-1/2 hrs to announce baking the french bread.

Once dough cycle of bread machine is over, shape the dough and let rise for about 30 minutes, covered with plastic, in a warm and draft-free place (I just place the pan on the stovetop where steam from chicken being baked keeps the area moist and warm).

For the last 30 minutes of baking (after the 1-1/2 hr alarm), remove chicken from oven, get the liver, and transfer the chicken (using the rack) onto a shallow baking pan to catch drippings while you continue baking. Place chicken back into the oven, then place your french bread on upper third rack of oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until brown.

Meanwhile, if you do remember and if you plan to offer steamed broccoli, do so now using a steamer or your cooktop.

Homemade Gravy
Chicken/veggie juice
Chicken drippings
1/4 cup white wine

Prepare your gravy. Remove veggies from pan and transfer to a bowl and keep warm. Place juice, liver and some onions into a small saucepan and let boil. Adjust taste by adding salt and pepper. Thicken with flour-water mixture. Set aside.

Once everything is done and removed from oven, place the chicken back to the original baking pan and surround with the veggies. (Ask your husband and/or children to set the table and slice the bread.)

Pour the white wine onto the 2nd baking pan that caught the chicken drippings (this has the flavor of roasted chicken if the drippings have browned but not burnt). Add this to the prepared gravy and mix well. Transfer to gravy boat.

Going back to the baked potatoes, cut longitudinal slits onto top. Using silicone mitts, press at both ends to crack open at the middle. Put slices of butter on top. You may want to enjoy this with gravy as well.

Have gourmet pepper (using pepper mill) and butter sticks ready on the table.

Enjoy your meal!



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