Sunday, April 27, 2008

Chicken, again

One of my favorite styles of cooking is what I call (in my head, and now on this blog) 'leftover cooking'. I feel a great sense of accomplishment when I can take a series of leftover-filled tupperware, add some fresh ingredients, and turn it into a completely new dish.

Last night we had friends over for dinner, and since I've been pouring over a basic culinary techniques book this weekend, I decided to roast a chicken.

Roasting a chicken is a fairly simple thing to do which turns fairly cheap ingredients into a fabulous feast. For our feast, I used a local chicken ($10), and a mixture of organic carrots, potatoes, onions, and asparagus (together around $5). I slathered the bird with a mixture of butter, salt, and pepper, and filled it with a few cloves of garlic and fresh rosemary from my herb pot.

To fancy up our humble feast I procured a series of cheeses and made a little cheese tray.

But the real star of the show came today. Using the leftover carcass I made quite a lot of chicken broth, half of which went into today's chicken and dumplings.

Into the pot of broth went last night's leftover roasted chicken and vegetable bits, and a few extra fresh carrots and potatoes that wouldn't fit into the roasting pan. I added some fresh parsley and I got my stew on.

In lieu of leftover bread from last night, I whipped up some simple parsley dumplings from my Joy of Cooking and we feasted again. Since the stew recipe is such that anything can be added I'll leave you with the roast chicken that started this whole episode.

Roasted Chicken

3-3.5 lb chicken
1-2 TBS butter + salt and pepper
5 cloves of garlic + 3 sprigs rosemary
4 Carrots, peeled and chopped
3 Potatoes peeled and chopped
7 asparagus stocks, chopped
2 medium onions, choppped
1 TBS olive oil + salt and pepper

Toss all the veggies in the oil/salt and place in the bottom of a roasting pan. Rub the chicken with the butter and salt mixture and place the garlic and rosemary inside. Place the chicken on top of the veg (no grill required), and roast for 1 hour at 425 F. Cover the breast with a bit of aluminum foil so it doesn't over cook. At the end of the cooking time, flip the chicken and broil the underside for a few minutes till it's nice and brown. Chicken is done when it is around 160 F, and the juices run clear (not pink).

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