That’s Good Chicken

I’m proud of my roast chicken.

In my meager repertoire of fraught cuisine, my chicken is really good. Always moist, always full of flavor, always a family favorite.

Husband says I make the second best roast chicken in the world. The first he ate as a pre-teen at a roadside stand in Puerto Rico. I contend that time and memory has enhanced the good flavor of that chicken, and my guess is that if placed side by side with my chicken he would reconsider. The availability of my chicken, which he can eat on a regular basis, should also make my chicken edge out Puerto Rico. But whatever.

The other night my family got together to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, and my contribution to the meal was a roast chicken. That meant it had to be cooked, transported to my brother’s house and reheated. The travel and reheating made me nervous – would my flagship dish stay juicy, or would the travel and reheating make it just another rubbery chicken?

My worry was for naught. It was juicy, it was tender, it was delicious. Everyone commented on how good it was, and you could tell they weren’t just giving lip service. I was so proud.

What’s the secret of my juicy chicken? Well, it’s not heart-healthy. And it’s messy. Very messy. I wash my hands about twelve times while prepping a chicken, and I use a clean towel which goes directly into the wash afterwards. But it really works to keep those juices in.

I like to use a whole chicken, and I use the fryers from Costco. I buy a package of two for about $7, and one is enough to feed my family of three and leave leftovers.

First I wash the raw chicken, and pat it dry. Then my secret: I rub butter all over the skin, inside and out (you can use wax paper or plastic wrap). Then I pour salt onto my fingertips, and rub salt all over the skin, inside and out.

I know. But it’s sooooooo good.

After that it’s just a matter of adding your favorite spices. I use Lawry’s salt (you can never have too much, can you?), garlic powder (I can’t ever have too much garlic, either) and Italian seasonings.

90 minutes at 350° (no, I don’t preheat!) and it’s perfect. The juice runoff helps make a terrific tasting gravy, too!

Sometimes I’ll cut up some red potatoes, spice them up and throw them in the pan, too. Other times I bake potatoes, or you can do rice as a side dish. Add some veggies and a salad and I’ve fed my family a great meal for under $6.

What’s your flagship dish, one that’s easy and delicious and makes you feel really good to set on your table? Please share it with us!

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3 Responses to “That’s Good Chicken”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Spinach manicotti.

    Mix up cottage, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses, some chopped spinach, a bit of salt & pepper, and pipe into slightly cooked manicotti noodles. The amounts aren’t set in stone, but I use like 16 oz. of cottage cheese, 1.5 cups of mozzarella, 1/2 cup of parmesan, a 10 oz. frozen package of chopped spinach, and that’s enough stuffing to fill two packages of manicotti noodes. Cover noodles with pasta sauce and more mozzarella & parmesan cheeses. Bake at 350 for like 45 minutes. It’s awesome.

  2. copyeditorsdesk Says:

    At my house the cheap & easy standby is spaghetti with fresh tomatoes.

    Put the ‘ghetti in a pan of boiling water to cook. Meanwhile coarsely dice a tomato. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the diced tomato. If you have some fresh basil or other fresh herbs, chop some of that up and toss it around with the diced tomato; otherwise use a few pinches of dried herbs, to taste. Chop a clove or two of garlic.

    When the spaghetti is cooked al dente, drain it in a colander. Dry the pot, put it back on the heat, and pour in a little olive. Turn the heat down to medium or so. Put in the garlic. Stir it around for a few seconds to soften–don’t let it brown. Then put the spaghetti back in pot, toss briefly to mix in the garlic and oil, and immediately serve onto plates. Top with the fresh tomato & herbs. Serve with plenty of shredded or shaved parmesan.

    If you want the tomato hot, put it in the instant the garlic is done, stir briefly, and then add the spaghetti.

  3. copyeditorsdesk Says:

    ooops. That’s “olive oil.” Remember…”Every writer needs an editor”! 😀


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