Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Roasted Chicken + Chicken Stock

Raw chicken plus vegetables, ready to go in the oven.
Roasted chicken, where have you been all my life? OK, seriously, I've been cooking it for a couple years now, but I can't believe it took me this long to get on the bandwagon. There is so much to love! Juicy, tender chicken, slow roasted, caramelized vegetables...all cooked together in one pan.  Leaving me time to actually wash some dishes read a magazine.

I think the problem was that I never knew what to do with the leftover chicken. Bob is not a dark meat fan and I hated the idea of throwing away half of a bird every single time. And then I stumbled upon this article for making chicken stock and I learned something new; it's possible to make chicken stock with cooked meat. I hope I'm not the only person that didn't know that, but all the cookbooks I've ever read on the subject instruct you to start with raw chicken. And we didn't even make chicken stock at my culinary school (too basic, I'm guessing); we spent our days making veal stock instead. Always, always using raw bones and vegetables.

Needless to say, I'm a convert. Instead of only roasting a whole chicken once in a great while, I now roast a whole bird once a month, if not more. And instead of dreading making chicken stock the traditional way (ie., with grease flying all over the kitchen as I browned the parts on the stove), I do my own variation and I'm just as happy with the results. Maybe even happier because my kitchen isn't covered in grease.

Shhh! The chicken is resting.
The recipe couldn't be more simple. All you need is a heavy pan or skillet that can go in the oven (I use a cast iron pan), a chicken, some vegetables and an hour or so. To make the stock, you'll need a large pot or stockpot (something that will hold the chicken carcass), a chopped onion, the leftover chicken, water, a couple bay leaves and some salt. Neither should take much longer than an hour apiece and in the end, you'll have a wonderful dinner for two (or four) and chicken stock for your freezer. It doesn't get much better than that!

Finished chicken, ready to eat.

Roasted and caramelized vegetables.

Roasted Chicken
Adapted from thekitchn.com and Jamie Oliver

serves: 2 or 4

notes: To keep the from having to wash your hands every time you touch the chicken, here are a few tips. Set aside a small bowl of 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper - that way you only 'contaminate' the small bowl and not the salt shaker and pepper grinder. Set aside a small bowl of oil (or butter) for the same reason.

3-4 pound whole chicken
a mix of vegetables for roasting - onions, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, etc
olive oil or softened, unsalted butter
kosher salt and black pepper
optional - lemon, garlic, fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme or sage)
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Peel and chop the vegetables into medium-sized chunks. Arrange the pieces in the bottom of a large, heavy skillet, preferably cast iron. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Thoroughly dry chicken (inside and out) with paper towels and set on top of vegetables, breast side up. Tuck the wing tips under the back of the bird. Rub chicken with olive oil or softened, unsalted butter and season with salt and pepper. Don't forget to season the inside cavity!
  4. If desired, stuff the inside of the chicken with a quartered lemon, garlic cloves and fresh herbs.
  5. Put the chicken in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 400 degrees F. Set a timer for 1 hour (10 minutes less if the bird is closer to 3 pounds).
  6. When the timer goes off, check the temperature of the bird by inserting a thermometer into the meatiest part of the breast and thigh. Both should be 165 degrees F. If you don't have a thermometer, you can check for doneness by inserting a fork or knife into the meat. If the juices run clear, the chicken should be done.
  7. Remove the chicken from the pan and set on a cutting board, tented with aluminum foil, to rest for 15 minutes. During this time I usually remove most of the oil from the pan and gently reheat the vegetables, adding herbs or more seasoning if necessary.
  8. Carve the chicken and serve with the roasted vegetables.

Chicken stock simmering away.
Finished stock cooling in an ice bath.

Homemade Chicken Stock Using Leftover Chicken
Adapted from thekitchn.com and Cook's Illustrated

yield: 1 - 2 quarts

notes: Cutting or ripping chicken into pieces will allow it to breakdown more quickly and give more flavor to the stock. Remove extra skin if possible. Raw chicken parts will also add additional flavor.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 chicken carcass (bones and meat), plus any raw chicken parts, if desired
1 onion, chopped into large pieces
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt

4-6 black peppercorns, optional
2-3 parsley stems, optional
  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over med-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened, 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add chicken to pot and add water to cover by one inch. Turn heat to high and add bay leaves, salt and optional peppercorns and parsley stems
  3. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for approximately 1 hour, skimming foam off surface if desired.
  4. After an hour, taste stock. If flavor isn't as strong as you'd like, continue to cook for another 30 minutes to an hour.
  5. Strain stock and discard the solids. To quickly cool stock, pour into bowl and place in a sink filled with cold water and ice. This is called an ice bath and it's a great way to quickly cool all liquids, including soups.
  6. Refrigerate stock overnight. Remove and discard hardened fat and pour into freezer containers.
  7. Stock can be refrigerated for up to 4 days and frozen for 4-6 months.


  1. We have the exact same Dutch oven! This is making me hungry - time to go home and make dinner.

  2. How do I prevent my stock from being a gel while in the frig? Ina's stock is always liquid out of the frig.


  3. I'm not sure why Ina's stock is always liquid, but a 'jelled' stock is actually desirable. It means you've managed to pull the gelatin out of the bones.