There is nothing like the smell of a whole chicken roasting in the oven. Last night was swim team practice, meaning I had to walk the girls down to the pool at 5:15 and pick them up again at 6:45. A friend was stopping by for a glass of wine at 5:30, here in town to teach a seminar up in San Ramon today. I had the chicken in the oven before she got here, choosing to do a slow roast at about 300 degrees. I bought the 3-chicken pack at Costco so pulled the innards from all of them and threw the various parts into my “for chicken stock” bag in the freezer, rinsed them all, and popped two into gallon size freezer bags. For the third one, I picked a lemon off one of my trees and cut it in quarters and put 3 of the pieces plus a few garlic cloves inside. I sprinkled salt, pepper, and paprika on the bird and popped it in the oven, breast-side up on a rack.
When I checked it later, there was nothing to baste it with. Is it only me who seems to end up with no juices coming out? I poured a cup of water on it so I could use that for basting as time went on.
I was also cooking roast potatoes and some cooked carrots. The potatoes I cut up into 1/2″ pieces and tossed in a bowl with a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, minced garlic, and paprika. The carrots are simply simmered until soft, then mixed with a bit of butter and brown sugar.
I was able to visit with my friend, with just a few breaks to throw the pan of potatoes in the oven, baste the chicken, and start the carrots at one point. My friend declined the dinner invitation, as she wanted to do some prep work back at her hotel but commented several times on the aromas of everything.
Even though I threw the necks and all that into the freezer, I decided to make a light stock with what I had–or would have soon. I started a pot of water to simmer with some potato and carrot water I’d saved earlier in the week, and as I cut up the chicken I added the wings (which no one wanted), some onion and carrots and celery, and then the fresh carrot water from tonight to the pot. I threw in a few peppercorns, a bay leaf, and some thyme and after dinner finished cutting all the meat off the chicken and threw the rest of the bones in the pot and covered with water. Let it simmer until nearly bedtime. Tomorrow night will be soup night.
The chicken was good and some of what was left was made into chicken quesadillas for breakfast (seemed reasonable to me!) and a chicken sandwich for my lunch. The rest will probably show up in the soup if I have any left over after tomorrow’ s breakfast. I have the leftover roast vegetables from Thanksgiving bagged in the freezer and a few turnips in the refrigerator, plus some leeks out in the garden. My mouth is already watering!