Monday, January 11, 2016

The Whole Bird is a Better Buy

The boneless skinless chicken breast finds its way onto on many dinner plates each night and the lean protein source often comes at a premium. This week Wegman’s in central Pennsylvania advertise organic boneless skinless chicken breasts for $7.49 per pound, double the price of a whole organic chicken, selling for $2.99 per pound.
Taking a little extra time to cook the whole bird can be a cost and time saver. Roast chicken dinner on Monday can easily turn into chicken sandwiches on Tuesday, chicken-topped salads on Wednesday, and tasty nutritious bone broth to enjoyed between meals or make into a hearty soup. The benefit of cooking at home puts you in control, no mysterious preservatives or flavorings. If your family likes lemon and rosemary, add a handful. Someone in the house is allergic to garlic? Omit it and no one is the wiser. 
It can be a little intimidating looking at the pale, slick skin of a raw chicken for the first time but a few simple steps and minimal ingredients, transforms the barging bird into a deliciously healthful dinner option.

Simple Roast Chicken
1 4-5lb whole chicken
1 head of garlic, sliced in half
1 lemon, sliced in half
4-5 sprigs fresh herbs, such as parsley, rosemary, thyme and/or sage
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven 425°F. Remove chicken from packaging, place breast side up in a baking pan or large deep-dish pie pan. No need to rinse the chicken, rinsing the chicken only increase the spread of bacteria in the kitchen. Remove any contents of the cavity, such as giblets or neck, discard or freeze for making broth. Trim away any excess fat, usually located at the opening of the cavity. Insert lemon, garlic and herbs into the cavity. Drizzle chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast on center rack of oven for 25 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375°F, cook additional 60 minutes until golden brown and internals temperature of the inner thigh reaches 165°F. Let rest 15 minutes before servicing.
*Tip. Once all meat is removed from carcass, place bones in a plastic bag and freeze until ready to make broth or stock.

Hearty Bone Broth
Bones from 2 roasting chickens
1 large onion, skin left on, cut into eight wedges
2 gloves garlic, smashed
2 carrots, cut into chunks
2 stalks celery, cut into chunks
6 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
6-8 cups of water
2 teaspoons salt
Place chicken bones, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, peppercorns, and bay leaf in a large stock pot. Add water to just to cover. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 2 hours. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Line a fine, mesh strainer with cheesecloth and strain broth, discarding the solids. Season with salt and additional pepper if desired.



Culinary Question: What is the difference between broth and stock? Both are derived from similar ingredients, bones, meat scraps and aromatic vegetables. However, broth has the addition of seasonings, such as salt, pepper and occasionally wine. 

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