The realization set in today that I was running the risk of writing an all canning blog this year – and of course that is not my intent. It is just that, having recently discovered my love of canning, I want to share it with everyone. But rest assured, my family does not sit down to dinner with a jar of jam and a spoon. We also eat salsa.

I kid, I kid.

Roasted chicken is frequently on the menu. Roasted chicken is where it is at. As far as I am concerned, Roasted chicken is the platonic ideal, the ultimate pinnacle of Chicken Cookery.

The business end of the Bird.

Once, after roasting a chicken to pull apart for a casserole I realized that the golden crispy skin would just go to waste.

So I ate it. All of it. The skin from an entire chicken.

That is how I feel about Roasted Chicken.

Roasted Chicken

The Hardware: roasting pan, oven set to 425 degrees, kitchen twine.

The Software:

A whole Chicken
Stuff to shove up its’ butt
Salt & pepper

Most recipes call for one to place “aromatics” into the “cavity” of the chicken. Not being one to pussyfoot around – I just think of it as shoving stuff up the chicken’s butt.

I am also very liberal in my definitions of “aromatics”. Mostly I look in the fridge and go “hmm, I wonder if that would work” and my response is usually “don’t know until you try”. I have yet to have any major failures. Since there has been a cornucopia of citrus in my home – citrus is what I ended up with. I also had left over fresh thyme, so why not?

Wash and dry your chicken well. Have 2 tangerines, cut one in half and peel & segment the other one. Clean a handful of fresh thyme. Place the chicken on your pan spine side up and sprinkle liberally with salt & pepper. Turn the bad boy over and shove 1/2 of the tangerine inside, then most of your thyme and follow with the second 1/2 of the tangerine.

Because I wanted to, this time I ran my hand under the skin and loosened it so I could shove the tangerine segments and thyme between the meat and the skin. Make sure to get some down into the leg and thigh area and evenly distribute everything. Season the top side with more salt & pepper then tie up his little legs like he is in a B-rated horror movie. One with Bruce Campbell preferably.

Cook until done – it usually takes about an hour. Roasted chicken and I have a love/hate relationship with the whole cooking time thing, that is why I have a meat thermometer. 165 is my goal temp and then I let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Except for the tail – I eat the tail right away.

I you look carefully you can see the thyme under the skin. mmmmmmm

Make sure you save all of the bones, juice and stuff to make stock. Stock is half the reason I roast whole chickens.

What are your favorite things to shove up a chicken’s butt?

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There is a high degree of probability that the term Golden Brown and Delicious was coined to describe perfectly Roasted Potatoes, and despite how humble they are you must give them props.

Ooooh yeah. Who needs french fries?

Ooooh yeah. Who needs french fries?

I have developed this recipe from a source recipe found in one of my favorite JLC* and I intend to cook from this tome many more times. “A Southern Lady Cooks With a Greek Accent” is an excellent mix of homey anecdotes and delicious recipes. Usually with my JLC I am happy if I can find one recipe that looks good enough upon read-through, and if it turns out then I am ecstatic. I currently have 4 additional corners dog-eared in Mrs. Sophia Clikas’s cook book and I cannot wait to try them.

* JLC = Junior League Cookbook. A catch-all term that I use to describe the now ubiquitous, self published cookbooks put out by organizations. I have been collecting them for years and have some doozies. Initially local Junior Leagues were the only groups that put them out – then Churches got in on the act. Now anybody and their Mother can publish one, and not all of them are good. Hallmarks of a JLC include a spiral bound format and names like Mrs. Earl Plotzkiss after each recipe asĀ  means of attribution.

How I have digressed!

Roasted Potatoes

The Hardware:

Glass Casserole dish of sufficient size to hold potatoes with space around each chunk, Spatula

The Software:

2 T Canola Oil
1 T Olive Oil
1 1/2 t Salt
1/3 t Paprika
Fresh Nutmeg and Pepper to taste, be generous
3 Medium Russet Potatoes or combination of potatoes you like to equal
(My Potato to conversion chart says 1 Med Russet = 3 small Yukon, I like more Russet)

Set oven to 400 degrees. In your casserole combine oils and spices, place in oven while it is pre-heating.

Wash potatoes and cut into good sized chunks – somewhere between 1/2 and 1 inch squariods. The small Yukons I halved and then quartered each half – then I cut the Russets to match. When the oven has reached 400 degrees, remove the casserole and add the potatoes. Toss around liberally with the spatula, turning to ensure that all sides are coated in tasty, tasty goodness. Spread out into a single layer with as much space betwixt the chunks as possible.

Roast for 15 minutes and then use spatula to rearrange the potatoes. You will probably have to scrape some of them off of the bottom. If the layer that was in contact with the casserole sticks just scrape it off too. Those thin little layers of potato get all crispy and yummy and … well it is almost indecent. Return to oven for another 15 minutes then repeat the drill. Return for a final 15 minutes.

If at the end of 45 minutes you have not achieved GBD and a decent amount of crispiness then you might need to put them in for a scooch longer. Mind you, a scooch is a very precise measurement.

We didn’t just eat potatoes for dinner, but that will be a different post, maybe. Becuse it was tasty, but not real pretty.