To paraphrase Joni Mitchell, you don’t appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone – especially running water. The pipes froze on Monday night (minus 30+ degree weather will do that) and we did not get water again until about an hour ago…I am definitely doing my happy dance today!
I guess “urban camping” is character-building but after five days it gets a bit tired, especially when you can’t cook as you are trying to minimize the amount of dishes to be washed.
And when you aren’t able to cook, of course you spend all your time fantasizing about the amazing meals you could be making. So last night, I arrived on the SO’s doorstep bearing not only all my dirty laundry but also the makings for a roast chicken dinner (I figured it was a fair trade – I got to use his washing machine and he got a great meal…)
I have been using Jamie Oliver’s “Perfect Roast Chicken” recipe for years and always get a delicious result, but I decided to bump it up a level last night by roasting potatoes, carrots and brussel sprouts in the pan along with the chicken. I used my largest cast iron frying pan (and yes, I transported this along with the laundry) so that I could make gravy in the same pan.
It turned out beautifully. As always, the chicken was wonderfully moist, flavoured with the lemons and rosemary and the vegetables made a lovely side dish.
Perfect Roast Chicken (serves 4)*
Preheat oven and roasting pan to 425 degrees.
Wash your 2.5 – 3.5 lb chicken inside and out and pat dry with paper towel. Rub the cavity with some rough sea salt. In a small bowl, combine 3 tbs of sea salt, 1/3 cup of roughly chopped rosemary and enough olive oil to moisten the mixture.
Carefully grab the skin away from the chicken breast and work your hand between the skin and the breast to separate. Then rub the skin with the oil, salt and rosemary mixture. Then stuff the chicken with 1 lemon (I usually cut into quarters or eights in advance as I find smaller lemon pieces fit into the cavity better). Pull the skin of the breast forward and bind the legs together as firmly as possible with twine.
Cut up six small potatoes and two large peeled carrots in chunks. If you like brussel sprouts, clean about 1 cup (you probably don’t need to cut up, just cut off the end and remove dirty outside leaves). Toss the vegetables in some olive oil.
Remove the roasting pan from the oven and add a little olive oil. Place the chicken in the pan breast side up and then scatter the vegetables around the sides of the chicken. Put back in oven and allow to cook for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Check every twenty minutes or so to toss the vegetables and baste the chicken.
When cooked, remove the chicken and vegetables from the pan, pour off the remaining juice to de-fat, and then add the juice back to the pan. Add 1/2 cup of white wine over medium heat and deglaze the pan (scraping up all the yummy sticky bits). You can serve the gravy like this or if you like a thicker gravy, whisk in a little bit of flour until the flour is absorbed and the gravy thickens.
While the chicken was roasting, I managed to get two loads of laundry done, and there was only one pan to wash up. It was a perfect evening!
*Adapted from “My Perfect Roast Chicken”, The Naked Chef, Jamie Oliver.