Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Roast Chicken and Stuffing

I decided this past weekend that I would try to make a traditional roast chicken for our Sunday dinner. I added stuffing to the meal since enjoyed my Thanksgiving version so much that I thought I would try to make it once more. My mom was always whipping up delicious comfort food meals like this so I thought it was about time I do so as well. I can remember the best roast chicken meal she ever made was when I returned home from a weekend camp in high school (camp Wewa for any of your peer counseling classmates out there). I don't know if it was so good because I was sleep deprived and hungry, or if it really was something she did in the actual cooking of the food. Either way, it was one of the best dinners I ever ate.

My friend Taemi forwarded me her instructions for brining poultry, so I planned ahead and let my chicken brine in the fridge overnight. Here are the brine ingredients:
1 quart cold water
1/4 c plus 2 T Morton's kosher salt (if using table salt, just use 1/4 c; if using "Diamond Crystal" kosher salt, use 1/2 c)
1/2 c sugar
For every pound of meat you use, you should use 1 quart of the brine. Before adding the poultry, stir together the water, salt, and sugar until it dissolves. Brine the meat for 8 hours in the refrigerator, then drain water and let chicken (or turkey) drain for a little while and pat dry.

Roast ChickenIngredients:
1 whole chicken (remove giblet packet)
1 lemon, cut in half
1 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise (so you are cutting the cloves in half but they remain intact)
Bay leaf
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff with lemon, garlic, bay leaf, thyme. Experiment with whatever herbs you like - I actually didn't have any thyme and 1 used about 1/4 of a garlic clove because that is all I had.
3. Rub olive oil on outside of chicken (or you could mix a herb butter) and then top with salt and pepper.
4. Tie legs together with string, although I think that increases the cooking time a little so if you don't have string no worries.
5. Put the chicken breast side down in the roasting pan.
Bake for 45 minutes and then remove and flip the chicken breast side up. Bake another 45 minutes or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh.6. Let chicken rest for 20 minutes then slice and serve.

1 small or medium onion, diced
A few stalks of celery, diced
2 cups of water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 bag Pepperidge Farm cornbread stuffing
Leftover cornbread, crumbled
Couple slices of white bread, crumbled
Extra chicken broth if needed

1. In a saucepan over stove, combine water, bouillon, onion and celery.
Stir to make sure bouillon breaks up and simmer until the vegetables become soft and bouillon is fully dissolved (approx 20 to 30 min). Chill the mixture in the refrigerator, preferably overnight (not sure why, my mom just told me to chill it).
2. Combine stuffing mix, cornbread, and white bread. Add chilled bouillon mixture.
3. Stir in salt, pepper, and sage to taste (it will take more than you think but add little by little so you don't add too much). Add in extra chicken broth if the mixture is dry, but I didn't need any extra this past time.
4. Spread into baking dish and bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 350 (or just in with the chicken) until the outside gets golden brown. Perfect stuffing in my opinion has a little crisp to the outside and is soft and moist on the inside.

I served the chicken and stuffing with a side of macaroni - after all this is a blog that was started because of my love of mac and cheese. :)

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