This recipe is taken in part from the guy that raised the chicken that we enjoyed this evening. It’s geared to minimal seasoning that leaves the bird moist & with a nice crispy skin.
The smoke that filled our little apartment was worth it. Seriously. :-]
Right off the bat, this is an organic chicken. I got it fresh on Sunday and kept it cold until I got home from school today. The total recipe time is about 1.5 hrs, but most of it is baking time (you don’t need to be around for it). I could tell that this chicken was better than other ones I’ve purchased because not only was it firm, but the skin was taut and moved nicely.
Our bird was 4.3 lbs.
The gravy recipe is kind of an experiment. I briefly read the section on giblet gravy in the Joy of Cooking, and some other ones online before hitting the kitchen. Chicken giblets don’t occupy more than 1/4 cup, so this doesn’t make the standard 4 cups of gravy, just about 1/2 cup, which is perfect for a 2 person team.
Recipe 28: Basic Roast Chicken & Giblet Gravy
Notes: Make sure you keep a sterile work environment while the bird is uncooked.Wash your hands frequently.
- A cast iron skillet large enough to fit your bird in
- A fine mesh strainer/sieve (for the gravy)
- large stock pot for a special **Bonus** recipe
- Organic chicken, thawed, rinsed inside and out, giblets removed, and patted dry with paper towels. Ours was 4.3lbs.
- Salt and pepper to desired amount
- Spices for seasoning
- Scant amount of butter/oil for coating the pan lightly.
- 1 carrot, coined.
- 1/2 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 small (racquetball-sized) purple onion, chopped
- 1 tsp garlic, minced
- 1-2 shakes of Worcestershire sauce
- 1/8-1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1.5 cups water or chicken stock
- 5 tbsp or more all purpose flour
First thing you want to do is preheat your oven to 450F. Get your cast iron skillet and slide some butter or oil along the inside of it, just barely enough to coat it. Prepare your bird by rinsing it inside and out, making sure you remove the bag of giblets (neck, liver, heart, etc) and pat dry. Rub with salt, pepper, and other desired dry spices. Put your cast iron skillet on the stovetop and crank up the heat to HIGH. As soon as it begins to smoke, place your bird, breast-side up, in the skillet and it should start to sizzle. Let it sizzle for a minute or two and then immediately transfer the bird+skillet to the oven. It should start sizzling again within 10 minutes. If not, adjust the heat higher by about 25 degrees.
Cook 20 minutes, then check to make sure all is well. Cook another 20 minutes, and then reduce the heat by 50 degrees and cook an additional 20 minutes. Add 10 minutes at this lower temperature for every pound over 5 lbs.
In the meantime, lets make our gravy. Roughly chop your rinsed giblets. Add them to a saucepan with a little butter on medium-high heat and allow to brown on one side before flipping. Add your onions, celery, carrot, and garlic and allow these to cook together until the onions are translucent and the mixture begins to stick a little to the bottom of the pan. Then, add your wine, water, and your Worcestershire sauce and turn down the heat to bring to a simmer for 20 minutes, covered. Once everything is soft and mostly a brownish color, turn off the heat, pull out a smaller saucepan (if you have one), and then strain your giblet/veg mixture through, pressing with a spatula to squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Remove the sieve and turn on the heat under this liquid on medium. Add flour on tbsp at a time until you get the desired consistency, whisking with a fork after each addition. The gravy will darken and thicken as it cooks. Once you like the consistency, remove from heat and quickly transfer to a bowl.
Now, back to your chicken. Once your time is up, remove the skillet from the oven and set on top of a trivet/unused burner. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing into it. Trust me, don’t even hesitate to tear a piece of that crispy, crackly, salty skin to try it. It’s so good!
Serve with your gravy.
Once you’re done enjoying your awesome chicken, pick the bird clean of any meat, and toss the rest into a large stock pot. Add water to a couple inches from the top of the pot, an onion, halved, 2-3 carrots, broken into pieces, and a couple stalks of celery. Boil until the vegetables are soft and discolored, and the liquid is aromatic (about an hour or so).
Allow to cool to room temperature before straining into a pitcher (discard the vegetables at this point). There’s still a lot of fat in solution, and in order to remove it, you’re going to have to chill the broth. This will send the fat to form a later on top, at which point you can run a spoon across to scoop it off.
Transfer to a clean ice cube tray and make stock cubes, or put into a large jar to store in the freezer until you need. Hooray for using a whole chicken down to the last giblet! :-] Enjoy your homemade stock!