14 March 2012

My First Chicken

I baked a chicken.
Big deal you say? You do it all the time?  Well this was my FIRST whole chicken.  Yup. First. Ever.
What you say?  You… who makes your own tortillas and pasta and bread from scratch.  You who reverse engineers recipe’s so you can change them? 
Yes.  Me.  My 1st whole chicken.  Of course I’ve done turkeys but honestly I didn’t really want to do a whole chicken.  We preferred white meat.  I didn’t like getting my hands slimy.  Blah blah blah. 
The more I read and the more into cooking I get, the closer to my food source I want to be.  I want to know where my eggs came from.  Are there antibiotics in the milk?  Is the food local?  Is it seasonal? 

Add to that our financial situation.  The husband recently got laid off so I am cooking for 5 on less.  I’m really watching the cost of the food we buy.  I am also very mindful of our food waste.  Do you know how much food the average family wastes?  It is scary.  More on that some other time.
This morning I was at New Seasons looking for meat on sale and I noticed the price for whole chickens was $1.79 a pound today at New Seasons.  The boneless skinless chicken breasts were $6.99 a pound.  (Now yes I realize I can buy chicken for less than that but we’ve made it a priority to buy meat that hasn’t been fed a diet of antibiotics.)  I did some quick math and realized that perhaps I’ve not been the sharpest tool in the shed to be buying pieces of chicken.  But I’m smarter now. 

So here we go.  What's in the bag you say?  Giblets.  They aren't pretty.

But apparently some think they are good.  As I stared at these I dug up a repressed childhood memory of my mother cooking and eating these.  She said they were good.  I'm not quite there yet.  I'll throw them into the stock.
Now since this is my 1st time, I didn’t want to get too fancy with the bird.  So I mixed some lemon juice and butter together w/ lots of salt and pepper and rubbed under the skin.

And threw the lemons into the cavity. 
I propped it up on chopped onions, carrots and a parsnip.

Roasted at 425 for about an hour.
Then came the “hard” work.  Or the work that I thought was hard…. The work I thought was SO hard that it was worth buying expensive boneless skinless chicken breasts ALL THE TIME.  It was NOT hard.  The meat fell off the bones.  And the best part?  Check it out.  I spent $6.5 on a 3 ½ pound "happy" chicken.  Out of it I got 1 full pound of white meat.  ½ pound of dark meat (which I’m totally using in a white bean chicken chili later this week), and of course the giblets and bones to roast for stock!  Not to mention all those yummy roasted veggies. YeHaw!  That is less than 1/4 of what I would have spent on the pieces and stock.
Now if that isn't good domestic engineering I don't know what is.

I’m so excited about this.  And yes I realize you have all probably been doing this FOREVER.  I feel like I’ve finally been invited to the party with the cool kids.   

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