We will be using two simple techniques: braising (cooking of a product in a flavoured liquid) of the chicken legs and pan roasting (searing a product in a pan and then transferring it to the oven to cook by the dry heat of the oven) of the breasts.
The two techniques work wonderfully. Braising is one of my favorite things to do. With braising one puts a tougher cut of meat or veg: lamb shanks, pork shoulder, endive, fennel, bone in fish steaks such as salmon, med sea bass, etc...in a liquid and when it finishes its tender as can be. With pan roasting one gets a nice sear ( you can also simply put your oven really high at first and then lower it after the item is browned, but i like the control of browning the product in a pan) on the fillet of snapper, pork chop, lamb tenderloin, NY strip steak, etc...and then finish it in the oven for a perfectly cooked piece of meat to your exact temperature desires!!!!
But lets get the bird in the oven!!!!
1 Chicken, quartered (see previous blog posts on how to perform this)
Chicken stock, heated and prepared from chicken trimmings (see previous post)
1/4 of an onion, medium dice
1/4 of a carrot, medium dice
couple celery tops, large dice (as you can see we need scrap bits, so use what you got)
1 T tomato paste
1 t whole spices, you choose your mix, fennel , peppercorns, cumin, etc...
1 clove garlic, smashed
1/2 inch ginger, sliced
Splash of wine or water
1 piece of citrus sliced up thinly
Fresh herb stems(parsley, coriander, thyme, rosemary...whatever flavour you want to impart, and that's in your fridge)
WHAT TO DO
- Turn oven on to 375F ( 190C) and heat up a large frying pan (oven safe if possible) over high heat.
- Season your chicken pieces with salt and pepper and add 2 T oil to the pan.
- Sear chicken pieces on all sides (as in picture above) to golden brown.
- Remove chicken pieces from pan and add in the carrot, celery, onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook for two minutes to start browning.
- Add dry spices and toast for 30 seconds and then add tomato paste and 1/2 the citrus slices and stir to coat all ingredients.
- Cook for one more minute, browning, not burning (if need be turn down stove top) and then add a splash of liquid (leftover wine, beer, water) to help scrape up any of the wonderful flavours in the pan.
- Add this all to the bottom of a small casserole dish and place the chicken legs on top of them ( see the photo above showing a nice small casserole that is a perfect fit for the amount of product to be cooked) and pour over enough stock to almost cover the chicken legs.
- Cover the casserole with tin foil and put in oven for roughly one hour ( this depends on size of legs, amount of stock to chicken, size of casserole,etc...so the key is to check after a half hour or so and keep cooking till the legs are fork tender. We want a leg that almost, just almost falls off the bone it is so tender, but stays together for appearance sake!!!!)
- After 1/2 hour in the oven add slices of citrus to your original pan ( or any oven safe sheet tray) and place your two chicken breasts on top ( place them on top of the citrus slices or any random bits of fennel, onion, or other flavour enhancer you want out of your refrigerator).
- Cook the breasts till the juices run clear which should be about 15 minutes ( depending again on size of breasts but also how long you seared them for...the longer you cooked them on the stove top, the shorter time in the oven)
- Hopefully if its a perfect world, your chicken breasts will finish cooking and then be allowed to rest for 5-10 minutes ( redistributes juices) before you pull out the legs. And thus you will have a perfectly timed full chicken.
- The big final step is to strain the now uber flavourful chicken braising liquid into a fry pan and reduce it by half to help thicken the jus ( no need for flours, starches,etc) and concentrate the flavour. Taste the sauce, does it need a pick me up ( add a squeeze of citrus juice), a touch of salt, a grind of pepper?
- Now cut your chicken up into smaller pieces ( separate drumstick from thigh along the joint, and also cut the breast in half as well) and serve.
You now have a wonderfully whole chicken to feed your family and friends with a tasty jus made from all the scraps!!! So toss a bird in the oven and enjoy the simple and economical pleasure of cooking from scratch!!!
MORE DISHES TO WASH
Many people remove the bone from the breast plate after cooking so the lower half has no bones and the upper does. The same goes for removing the thigh bone. This is the way some restaurants then serve the chicken..each person receiving a portion of light meat and dark meat and one having bone and one without...ah screw it...bone in flavour is where its at!!!
Another quick tip is to make this meal ahead of time, but stop at the part of putting the chicken breasts in the oven. Simply sear the breasts and cook the legs as directed above. Then strain the finished jus, cool the cooked legs and refrigerate till needed. When guests or family are ready for dinner simply pour your finished warm jus over the chicken legs and put them in the oven for 15 minutes and return as well the seared breasts to the oven. This is how to have friends over for a roast dinner and not be sitting in the kitchen all night fussing and cleaning!!! Put your roast veg in the oven as well and all that you should need to do is toss a salad and maybe saute some fresh veg!!! Simple, easy, and time saving...that's what cooking should be...oh yes i almost forgot...TASTY!!!!!