I highly enjoy reading The Pioneer Woman's blog, even though it's not the healthiest foods in the world, it usually is pretty simple to make, and she gives you step by step photo instructions (and she doesn't claim to be a health food blog). So the other day she posted a recipe for roast chicken. I've been going back and forth for probably a couple years on whether or not to tackle roasting a whole chicken myself, but it always came down to my hatred of raw meat on a bone that kept from attempting. And it's pretty easy just to buy a rotisserie chicken straight from the store. But as my kids get older, I've been trying to not necessarily eat healthier (although that's an added bonus), but better. Which I guess go hand in hand anyways so double win. But what I mean by better is making what I can from scratch so I know exactly what's going into what I'm making. So yes it would be a lot easier to buy the rotisserie chicken already cooked, but I've got no clue what kind of things are added to it to preserve it. (If there even are any?) So I set aside all my fears, and went for it.
Doesn't that look delicious?? (this is PW's not mine... much prettier)
The Mr. was gracious enough to pick me out a chicken. So last night I put on my pretty apron (who doesn't like pretty aprons? that's half the fun of cooking...) and got out my chicken. Luckily the Mr. was at class, because I'm pretty sure if he was home he would have sat in the kitchen watching and making fun of me. I placed the chicken in the sink and opened the packaging, gagging the whole time as all the gross salmonella-y juices went down the drain. I googled whether or not you are supposed to rinse the chicken first or not (because seriously who knows these things!?) and apparently it doesn't matter either way because the bacteria will be killed in the oven. But if I had to touch that thing with my bare hands, you better your booty I washed it. I did however refrain from using antibacterial soap (on the actual chicken). So yay me. After it was rinsed, I put it on a jelly roll pan lined with foil (hello easy clean up!) and patted her (him?) dry.
The reason I decided to go for it with this recipe was because of it's simplicity. Only a handful of ingredients that I already had (besides the chicken), rosemary, butter, lemons, salt & pepper. Mix the butter with the rosemary, lemon zest and some S&P. After that go to town covering it all over the poor chicken, and that's it. Pop it in the oven and roast.
Here's where things get interesting. I had a very difficult time covering it with butter. I did not like to touch the chicken. And it tells you to make sure you get the butter under the skin for maximum juicyness and flavor. I attempted that one time, screamed like a little girl, and decided I just couldn't do it. Then it tells you after buttering, to squeeze the lemon juice over it and stuff the lemons in the chicken. Say what? I couldn't even tell which end the 'cavity' was, and I sure as hell wasn't stuffing my hand in anywhere to figure it out. (Don't feel bad starting to chuckle at this point, I am completely aware of how ridiculous this whole story is). So I decided against stuffing it, and just left the lemons on the side of the chicken, same thing right? (Even I'm chuckling as I write this). I was so proud of myself when I shut the oven door, and went on my merry way playing with the girls. As we were playing, it was seriously starting to bother me that I couldn't figure out why there was no room for the lemons. PW said she stuffed THREE lemons in there. This is my first roast chicken and I really didn't want to waste the whole thing by screwing it up. So i turned to handy dandy google, and start looking around for more detailed instructions, especially when it came to stuffing the bird.
Turns out there's some stuff in there! That you're supposed to remove. SAY WHAT?! That should really be labeled on the package or something... I say stuff, because it still makes me throw up a little in my mouth when I say giblets. Buh. I just said it. Luckily my chicken had only been in there a couple minutes before I realized my mistake and ran to the oven to take it out, and remove the... ahem... stuff. Here's the part where I know the Mr. for sure will be sad he wasn't there to witness it. People, the stuff is DISGUSTING. I seriously was gagging for my life. I had to use forks because as already mentioned there was no way I was putting my hand in there. I can't even describe what they looked like I wouldn't even look at the things. I again was screaming like a little girl, and my own girls thought it was hilarious. Hopefully they don't have a weak stomach like me. It took me a good 10 minutes to make damn sure that I had gotten everything out. Took a few minutes for some deep breathing, and then finally feeling brave stuffed the lemons up there with my forks. Put it back in the oven, and let the magic take place.
A little while later, I had this beaut.
Lemon Rosemary Roast Chicken!
And I still couldn't bring myself to try it. That's my problem with working with raw meat, is I see it all bacteria-y and even when it's completely done and I KNOW I won't get salmonella poisoning, it's all I can think about. Plus I don't eat meat off of bones (except for ribs, and I don't even like to do it but they're just so damn good), even growing up when we would eat fried chicken, my Mom would make me chicken fingers instead. So after the Mr. came home from class he tried it and of course it was "the best chicken he had ever tasted in his whole life!" Right babe? :) Lucky for me, he volunteered to carve it up so we could use the leftovers for soups/salads/sandwiches/chicken and biscuits etc.
So I did it. I made my very first ever roast chicken. I don't think this is going to be a regular appearance at our house, maybe every few months or so, but I feel pretty good conquering my fears of a dead bird. (That sounds so morbid but you get the picture).
And PS if I do ever make this again, I would probably use about half the butter PW's recipe called for. Most of it just melted down the side anyways, so if you make this definitely make sure to line the pan with the foil!!