Roast Chicken and Mashed Potatoes

Here’s where I admit a phobia.  I’m afraid of birds.  I’m sure they really want to peck our eyes out (and before you ask, no – I haven’t seen the Hitchcock film.  Ask Travis; I don’t need any help coming up with this stuff).  This fear has extended to dead birds.  I can deal with cooking chicken breast, but even that took a lot of time.  And I really prefer those that come already packaged.  And I prefer not to touch it as I’m preparing it.  All that aside, Trav & I caught an episode of The French Chef recently, and Julia inspired me.  Well, Julia and the 99-cents-per-pound deal at Top Foods.  So Monday we were set for Roast Chicken.

I took a combination of Julia Childs & America’s Test Kitchen and came up with this:

  1. Prep your chicken.  Take the neck & gizzards (whatever those are) out of the cavity.  Don’t be squeamish – you’re an adult, for goodness’ sake!  Then check for any loose feathers or (worse in my opinion) weird partial feather shaft things.  Remove any of the above with your fingers or pliers – whatever you need.
  2. Brine your chicken – submerge it in a saltwater solution: 1/2 cup table salt per gallon of water (or thereabouts) – for about an hour
  3. Put your roasting pan (& rack) in the oven & preheat to 375.
  4. Dry your chicken and brush it with melted butter.  This is the point where Julia would have you sew your chicken shut & then put it on a rotisserie.  I’m not so much into the sewing a chicken bit.  So America’s Test Kitchen says that you just have to put it in the oven – way more my speed.  Put the chicken on its side & roast for 15 minutes.  Flip to the other side for the next 15.
  5. Turn the oven up to 450 & flip the chicken breast-side up until the breast heats to 160 – our oven-safe instant-read-thermometer with alarm makes this part pretty easy.
  6. Rest 10 minutes and then carve.

Travis HATES recipes that tell you to rest the food.  He thinks it got enough rest in the oven, but he’s starting to at least allow me to follow that step when it’s in the recipe.  He carved the chicken, since I didn’t have a clue how to do that part (Julia left us with just a few slices removed from the whole bird).  We ate the breast that night & saved the rest of the bird for recipes later this week…

The mashed potato recipe was the same as we used October 27th.  We made a gravy based on something Trav found on Epicurious – it involved chicken grease, flour and chicken stock and some boiling.

For all my bird-induced fear, the recipe turned out really well.  The chicken was moist and flavorful, the mashed potatoes were creamy enough, with the gravy.  Something I did not know about my husband was his addiction to gravy.  When I was a kid, I didn’t like gravy at all.  So I never learned how to make it.  So it’s only now (after being together for years and married for 14 months) that I found out that Travis LOVES gravy.  He made a bowl of mashed potatoes and filled it with gravy.  I’m not talking about the normall potato mountain with gravy lava – that’s nothin’.  This was a ring of potatoes, 2 inches high, completely filled with gravy – plate to top.  I guess you learn something new about your spouse every day!

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