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Roasting a Chicken

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I haven't been around long enough this summer to cook much of anything, but the current cold front and this thread got me in the mood to roast a bird. Since gus_tatory asked for a quick demo on deboning via the glove method, that's what I did...

wow, thanks a lot, wattacetti--

i've been wanting to learn that method for years, and, having looked at cookbooks and not really been sure what they were doing, i am now clear on the process.

i'll be the one practicing on three chickens at home this weekend... :smile:


"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the ocean."

--Isak Dinesen

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Wow, Wattacetti, your stuffed boned chicken looks amazing.  That is one of my husbands favourite meals.    I use a slightly slightly different method of boning and I usually bone out the wings and the legs too.  Thanks for the detail pictures.  I'll have to give your method a try next time. 

Ann

Those are really good how-to photos you've posted on your SmugBug site. And your plate looks much nicer than mine.

I use your boning method when I debone quail because I am much more likely to stab myself on the little beasts. I stopped doing it for chickens because I was just too lazy to either tie the package back up or truss it like you've done (my sewing skills are only adequate).

I am toying with the idea of a smaller variant on the turducken (duck, chicken, quail), so yours sounds like the way to go for preliminary experimentation.

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I want to a roast chicken. My kids love the skin espcially if the skin is very crisp (they are huge fried chicken fan). What roasting method will yield the most crisp skin?

Any hints will be appreciated.

Soup

I've heard that steaming it for a bit then hanging it to dry before roasting might work? I'v done this when frying the bird but not roasting.

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I did a great roast chicken the other night by spatchcocking it (taken out the back bone and breaking the breast bones) and stuffing under the skin a fresh ricotta with fresh chives, chervil and lemon zest. A splash of olive oil and salt over the top and blasting for about 20 mins at 300 degrees then down to 150 for about an hour - the skin was a very dark brown and crispy and the ricotta became more solid like a stuffing but the meat was delicious and moist. The recipe was a Bill granger one and canb be found on the bbc food website, i'd recommend giving iot a go if you fancy something a little different.


"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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I want to a roast chicken.  My kids love the skin espcially if the skin is very crisp (they are huge fried chicken fan).  What roasting method will yield the most crisp skin? 

Well, you could try the Peking duck method: loosen the skin from the meat, and shock the bird in boiling water for 30 seconds followed by ice bath. Repeat process a few times, cover loosely with cheesecloth and let sit in refrigerator overnight.

For really crispy skin I've been known to take a blowtorch to the bird after roasting.

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Keller's method is excellent, but it tends to make a mess of the oven. In a recent cooking class, we stuffed a herb butter under the skin. The oven was pre heated to 450 then turned down to 375 when we put the chicken in.

Perfect crispy skin and done in a roasting pan on a rack, a lot less messy. If you have a convection oven, use the convection setting. It really helps to crisp the skin as well.


Edited by Marlene (log)

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I literally smother the bird in salt 24 hours before cooking, stuff some aromatic something inside.....I like orange leaves, then roast at 375 until done. I used to stuff under the skin a lot, but this led to a lack of crispy skin, so now I just KISS.

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I want to a roast chicken.  My kids love the skin espcially if the skin is very crisp (they are huge fried chicken fan).  What roasting method will yield the most crisp skin? 

Any hints will be appreciated.

Soup

I've heard that steaming it for a bit then hanging it to dry before roasting might work? I'v done this when frying the bird but not roasting.

Mostly what you need for crispy skin is time and a few simple tools.

The night before you plan to roast the chicken, get your bird out of any plastic wrap. Pat it dry. Rub it inside and out with salt. I find kosher salt is easier to handle, but that's a matter of taste, not a hard rule.

Now get out your roasting pan and a V shaped roasting rack. Other roasting racks will work, the main thing is to keep the bird from sitting in the juices and fat. Set the bird in the rack, thighs facing up. Let it sit in a dry part of the fridge until you're ready to roast it the next day. When you roast it, let it go thighs up until the underside skin is very crisp. Then turn it breast up. If you are using a beer can style roasting rack, you don't have to turn the bird, so you may find you prefer that method. You can also get crisp skin with no roasting rack, but that takes a fair bit of practice.

After that, the main thing is practice. After you've roasted chicken a few times, you'll get to recognize the scent of very crisp skin. Skin can look crisp visually, but not be really crisp. I find smell is a more reliable indicator. You can get quite crisp skin with different oven temperatures. I prefer high heat, but there are other cooks who prefer low heat. Experiment and find out what you like better.

The big thing with roast chicken is to do it often while you're mastering it. Practice makes perfect. Since it's a very economical meal in most places, this shouldn't be a great hardship :). I usually don't bother to prep the bird the night before. It gives better results, but I'm not at my best in the evenings, so if I prep the bird in advance it's the morning of roasting day. Practice taught me that.

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Decided to roast some chicken. Got a package of two whole

chickens with total weight

<blockquote>

10.38 pounds

</blockquote>

Heart, gizzard, liver, neck, feet were missing.

<br><br>

In stainless steel roasting pan, put

<blockquote>

2 pounds quartered, coarsely sliced yellow onions (large

onions, about 1 pound each as purchased)

<br>

1 pound peeled, sliced carrots

<br>

1 pound rinsed, sliced celery

<br>

5 ounces coarsely chopped, peeled, fresh Chinese garlic

<br>

1 T black pepper corns

<br>

1 T rosemary leafs

<br>

6 bay leafs

<br>

1 C virgin olive oil

</blockquote>

mixed in bowls to spread the oil and herbs, etc.

These vegetables filled the roasting pan.

<br><br>

In cavity of chickens, placed total of

<blockquote>

2 lemons, in wedges

</blockquote>

Placed chickens breast side down on the vegetables.

<br><br>

Placed on bottom rack of oven at 325 F.

<br><br>

After 20 minutes, some of the exposed vegetables were starting

to burn.

Lowered temperature to 275 F.

Inserted meat thermometer into thigh.

<br><br>

Cooked at 275 F until meat thermometer read 170 F.

<br><br>

Roasting pan had level of liquid about half the depth of the

pan.

<br><br>

<b>Results</b>

<br><br>

Disaster.

<br><br>

Breast meat was not quite done. Dark meat was very underdone

-- inedible. Gagged trying to eat it.

<br><br>

The white meat tasted awful. The lemon gave a little flavor

to a little of the white meat and otherwise no flavor at all.

The vegetables gave no noticeable flavor to the meat.

<br><br>

<b>Really BIG</b> use of time, money, and effort to create

little more than garbage.

Disaster.

<br><br>

Will use the chicken partially eaten along with the vegetables

to make chicken stock.

<br><br>

For the second chicken, will cook again on a rack, open,

breast side up, until the thigh meat temperature is at least

185 F and the drumstick rotates easily.


What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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Partially saved the roast chicken effort

<A HREF="http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=26986&view=findpost&p=1379690">

above.</A>

<br><br>

So, made stock from the roasting pan vegetables and remains of

the first chicken.

<br><br>

For the second chicken, placed on a V-shaped wire rack set in

a roasting pan. Placed chicken on rack breast side up and set

into 275 F oven.

<br><br>

Roasted until oven thermometer in breast meat read 183 F.

<br><br>

Then dark meat was falling off the bone but still juicy.

White meat, from the very thick breast, actually could have

used more cooking but was quite juicy.

<br><br>

Cut up chicken and put meat into a 2 quart Pyrex casserole

dish and put skin and bones into stock pot.

<br><br>

To improve the flavor, made a sauce for the chicken:

<blockquote>

Ingredients

<br><br>

2 C chicken stock directly from the stock pot

<br>

2 C dry white wine

<br>

8 T flour

<br>

8 T butter

<br>

1 1/2 C whole milk, simmering

<br>

1 C whipping cream

<br>

4 egg yolks

<br>

lemon juice

<br>

salt

</blockquote>

Placed stock and wine in a 2 quart pot and reduced to

<blockquote>

1 1/2 C

</blockquote>

In a 2 quart pot, made a white roux of the flour and butter

and added the simmering stock all at once and, off heat,

whipped until smooth.

<br><br>

Added the milk, simmering, all at once.

<br><br>

In a bowl of about 1 quart, mixed egg yolks and cream. Warmed

egg yolks gently by slowly adding, with whipping, about 1/3rd

of the hot sauce and then added yolk mixture to sauce and

whipped. Heated to 140 F and removed from heat.

<br><br>

Added salt and lemon juice to taste.

<br><br>

Sauce was nicely thick, glossy, and had a nice <i>custard</i>

texture and an attractive yellow color.

<br><br>

Added cover to casserole dish and warmed in microwave.

<br><br>

For one serving, added some meat to a bowl and topped with

some of the sauce.

That serving with some toast and Chardonnay made an okay

dinner.

<br><br>

The chicken flavor was not as good as it should be; roasting

from 170 F to 183 F helped, but roasting to, say, 190 F should

have helped some more.

<br><br>

Added the rest of the sauce to the casserole dish, covered,

and refrigerated for dinners in the future.


What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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The direct cause of your disaster is you used a single doneness test. A thermometer is a very useful tool, and it gives the illusion of being very precise. If you hit a bone, or even graze too closely to one, the thermometer will give an inaccurate reading. If the thermometer hits an air pocket, it gives an inaccurate reading. If it hits the bottom of the pan, it gives an inaccurate reading. When you're in a hurry to get dinner done, it's very easy to make mistakes with a thermometer, and all the mistakes will give you a higher temperature reading (it's the water thing... everything else in the roasting pan heats faster than the meat, because the meat contains the most water. And water is notable for taking a *lot* of heat to get a small temperature increase.).

That's why I recommend always using two doneness tests. If the juices of the bird are red or an intense pink, you *know* the bird isn't done. If the drumstick is nearly immovable, you *know* the bird isn't done. If I don't get agreement on "done" on at least 2 doneness tests, I cook the bird longer. It's far more likely that I screwed up placing a thermometer than that my eyes are so wonky I read red juices as clear.

If you roast a chicken on a bed of vegetables, you'll get deeply carmelized vegetables. If you don't care for intense carmelization, this is not a good method. It's also generally better for the hard root vegetables to outweigh the oniony vegetables. Onions cook very quickly, potatoes and carrots cook slowly. So if the onions are buffered in a mostly slower cooking mix of vegetables, they don't get so exposed to the heat and there's less risk of burning. You can also do things like cover exposed portions with foil to minimize burning.

As a basic principle, flavor tends to travel with fat, since most flavor molecules are fat soluble. So if you want a slightly carroty chicken, you can make a carrot flavored compound butter and put it under the skin, or you could cut up small carrot pieces and add them to the chicken's cavity. I suspect carrot coins under the skin could work too, but that might make it harder to get a crisp skin.

The vegetables will get flavored by the chicken, since they get soused in chicken drippings. They will not particularly flavor the chicken, since the fat is busy following the law of gravity and flowing down. Chicken has a very pronounced flavor. You can demonstrate this by making chicken stock. You can get a nicely flavored chicken stock with a very small amount of chicken compared to what you need for a vegetable or beef stock. The chicken will take on some of the lemon flavor from the lemons in the cavity, but it will not be particularly noticable while the chicken is hot unless you do a direct comparison between a lemoned chicken and an unlemoned one. I find the lemon flavor is much more noticable when the chicken is cold.

The amount of liquid you're describing sounds like either the chicken was very freshly killed, or the amount of olive oil was excessive. 1 cup is a lot more than I'd usually use, but I also use a 9*13 baking dish as a roasting pan for chicken. If you're using a larger pan, that amount of oil might be just right.

If the liquid was primarily from the chicken, you had a *very* fresh bird. Those do not behave exactly the same as a less recently dead animal. They contain more water, and thus take longer to cook. You can view cooking as "bring the water contained in food X up to temperature Y". This works because water needs a lot of heat applied to raise its temperature. Most other things we eat take much less heat to have their temperature change, compared to water. (If you want the detailed scientific explanation, just say the word. I find it easier to understand, but it takes a fair bit of math)

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Torrilin,

Thanks for your analysis of the events.

Yes, in the first roasting effort, I just stuck the thermometer into the thigh of one of the two chickens upside down. It did occur to me later that I might have had the sensitive end of the thermometer on a bone or in air. But, with all the data in, now I believe that the thermometer was basically just in the meat and giving a 'valid' reading.

I was so concerned about temperature because I didn't want to dry the breast meat to "chicken dust".

I thought that asking that the lower leg bone twist easily in the knee joint would have the breast meat overdone; as events showed, with these chickens, the breast meat could still be moist.

For cutting the chicken and looking at the color of the juices, I didn't try that. Again I was concerned about getting the breast meat overdone -- again, as events showed, I was too concerned.

In the end, the thermometer did work well: In the second roasting, with the chicken on a V-rack, breast side up, I cooked to 183 F with the thermometer stuck in the breast. The big surprise was how much cooking the breast meat could take and still be moist: In the end, these chickens were amazingly moist throughout. In the second roasting, even when the dark meat was falling off the bones, leaving clean bones, the breast meat was still moist and could have used more cooking.

Why was the breast meat so moist? Maybe the packer found a way to put some 'brine' effect in the liquid. Maybe the main issue was the exceptional thickness of the breast meat.

Whatever the reason, these chickens seem to demand partly rewriting chicken cooking wisdom: Even roasting breast side up on a V-rack, the dark meat can be falling off the bone while the breast meat can use still more cooking.

I did manage not to brown the vegetables by using the oven temperature of 275 F. The remarks in this thread make it clear that for roasting chicken a wide range of temperatures is okay.

For the size of my stainless steel roasting pan, the top, inside dimensions are 15" long, 10 1/4" wide, and 2 1/4" deep. So, the 4 pounds of vegetables filled the pan, and the 1 C of oil was okay.

I put the liquid from the roasting pan in a 4 C Pyrex measuring cup, let it stand to separate, and then set it in the refrigerator. Looking now, I got 3 C total where 1 C is fat, chicken and olive oil. The fat is VERY fragrant of the vegetables!

Altogether, it's been a LOT of work: Everyday I've been pouring, straining, washing big pots and bowls, etc.

But some of the results are okay: From the stock pot, I got 4 quarts of moderately dark chicken stock that will gel in the refrigerator. I've made one effort to let the fat separate and removed it getting 1 C of about half fat and half stock. I've strained the stock through cloth. The 4 quarts left have only trace amounts of fat on the surface, and I plan to remove that.

Then plan to combine all the supplies of fat and freeze it for later and to combine all the supplies of stock, reduce it, freeze it as cubes, and store it for later.

I also got a 2 quart casserole dish of chicken pieces masked with a rich yellow sauce that goes well with Chardonnay! So, stuff some of the chicken and sauce into a 300 ml Pyrex custard dish, top with a microwave proof lid, and warm gently, and can get a good, fast main dish.

With the fat and stock, plan to get two more chickens and continue.

One idea is to use some of the chicken fat and some butter to soften a finely diced mirepoix, add some flour and make a roux, add some of the chicken stock and some milk to make a sauce.

Then, remove the breast meat, flour it, brown it in some of the chicken fat, pour over the gravy, and simmer it covered until done. Additional flavorings could be mushrooms, ham, cheese.

With the rest of the chicken, use the thigh meat in some Chinese stir fry and use the rest for more chicken stock.

You are correct about the specific heat of water -- it is comparatively high, about 1 calorie per gram per degree C from just above 0 C to just below 100 C. Note: 1000 of these calories is one Calorie as used in nutrition.


What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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But, from the fragrant fat and the quarts of stock, a big, general question is,

What to do with them?

Above I outlined using the fat and stock to cook more chicken. Another use could be to coat chunks of potatoes and them roast them.

But much better uses may also be possible.

Ideas?


What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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But, from the fragrant fat and the quarts of stock, a big, general question is,

What to do with them?

Above I outlined using the fat and stock to cook more chicken.  Another use could be to coat chunks of potatoes and them roast them.

But much better uses may also be possible.

Ideas?

Ask and ye shall receive:

"Schmaltz, the thread"


 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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I live near an area that has a live poultry market and will be picking up a bird tonight for dinner. The joys of living in a culturally diverse area! I've never had great success roasting a chicken at home and was wondering if I would be alright if I picked up the chicken tonight and roasted it without the overnight air drying in the fridge. Or should I be patient and wait to air dry the bird? Thoughts? Thanks!


Edited by Gastro888 (log)

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I live near an area that has a live poultry market and will be picking up a bird tonight for dinner.  The joys of living in a culturally diverse area!  I've never had great success roasting a chicken at home and was wondering if I would be alright if I picked up the chicken tonight and roasted it without the overnight air drying in the fridge.  Or should I be patient and wait to air dry the bird?  Thoughts?  Thanks!

While I think that air drying for a day is a good thing, that's not always the way life works. The chicken I'm cooking tonight will only have air-dryed (after being salted) for a few hours. It will still be yummy.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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But the problem is I won't even have a few hours to salt and air dry the chicken. :hmmm: I'll be heading home to cook after work with said chicken in hand. Unfortunately, I don't work near my house, otherwise I would've taken the chicken home at lunch and done the quick salt and air dry.

So I'm wondering if I should take my freshly killed chicken and just roast it tonight or should I salt and let it air dry overnight? Would there be a marked difference in taste?

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But the problem is I won't even have a few hours to salt and air dry the chicken.  :hmmm:  I'll be heading home to cook after work with said chicken in hand.  Unfortunately, I don't work near my house, otherwise I would've taken the chicken home at lunch and done the quick salt and air dry. 

So I'm wondering if I should take my freshly killed chicken and just roast it tonight or should I salt and let it air dry overnight?  Would there be a marked difference in taste?

Assuming it's a really great chicken (like not supermarket), roast tonight or wait. If it's a great chicken, it won't mattter nearly as much as if it's a "generic" chicken.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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I don't know if it's "great" or not...it was clucking before I paid for it. Less than 10 minutes later, I got a bag with a cleaned chicken inside 4.5lbs for $7. And yes, it was still warm to the touch. I was poking the bag with morbid fascination. It's been in the fridge.

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I roasted my first ever chicken a couple of weeks ago.

I bought it, pulled the unwanted bits out, washed it, patted it dry, rubbed it with table salt, put it on a bed of onions and garlic cloves, with a split lemon inside it. It was a 5 lb bird and took 2 hours to finish (cant remember what temp I was using).

The top half was perfect skin ( which I snarfed before anyone else could get close) and the lower half wasnt, because it was 'braising' in the vegie juices. I need a roasting rack. Or a beer can.

So my answer is - no, you dont need to let the chicken sit before cooking it.

I picked that sucker clean and used the bones and wings and soggy skin to make a strong stock which has been used to make soup, and rice this week. Some went into the freezer for fast soup in the future.


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Really? Wow, that's great to hear Kouign Aman. Thanks for your post.

I got the live chicken because the cost is about the same as a regular chicken from the market. Hell, at least I know it's fresh.

2 hours? Wow, that sounds like a long time...

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I roasted the chicken last night and I had excellent results. I think this was due to the method of roasting and the fact I had a chicken that was alive and clucking only 5 hours before I purchased it.

Upon returning home, I took the fresh chicken and removed any stray feathers. Then I rinsed and cleaned it and applied a generous amount of:

-salt

-5 spice powder

-white pepper

-garlic powder

-soy sauce

I roasted the chicken for 15 minutes at 450 and then for 40 minutes at 365. This made for a chicken that was very, very faintly pink at the bone - perfect for me. I dislike well-done chicken.

WOW. It was a *HUGE* difference in taste between my chicken and the standard supermarket one. Even from the ones you get from the Chinese market! The meat was tender, moist and had a flavor to it that was so rich and meaty. Thanks to snowangel for encouraging me to roast a chicken even without the air drying.


Edited by Gastro888 (log)

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