Archive for February 25th, 2009

Barefoot Roast Chicken

Ok, all chickens are barefoot, roasted or otherwise. The “Barefoot” I’m referring to here is the Contessa one, Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, who hosts the popular Food Network show. I used to watch her show, then I quit for a while, now I’m watching it again. I’ve also read most of her cookbooks and taken from them recipes that look like something I might actually prepare. 

I have so many recipes clipped/copied from various sources – thousands, I dare say. Every now and then I go through my files and look at a particular recipe and think “Who am I kidding? I will never fix this.” I can usually get rid of one third of them. I also find some duplicates, or near duplicates. Still, I have too many to use effectively. I guess it’s some kind of foodie addiction, this incessant searching for and collecting recipes. Luckily for me and my family, it’s not a harmful addiction. I don’t force feed anyone.

Be that as it may, I bought a roasting chicken yesterday and am cooking it right now. Last week, I tried Thomas Keller’s “favorite” roasted chicken from Epicurious.com. It was fine and you can find it here.  I wanted to try something different and the Barefoot one uses lots of vegetables as an edible rack upon which to cook the bird. That’s always good. That way there are lots of very tasty veggies cooked in the drippings. 

Here’s the recipe, or at least the way I fixed it. You can find the official one at the Food Network website.

Barefoot Contessa and Morgana’s Roast Chicken

1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 large bunch of fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs

1 lemon, halved

1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise

2 T. butter, melted

1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced

4 carrots, cut into 2-inch chunks

1 fennel bulb, tops removed and cut into wedges

Olive oil


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Remove giblets and neck if present in chicken cavity. Rinse the chicken with running water inside and out. Check for excess fat and pinfeathers and remove them. Pat the chicken dry on the outside.

3. Liberally salt and pepper the inside cavity.

4. Stuff the cavity with the lemon halves, and the garlic and the bunch of thyme.

5. Brush the outside of the chicken with the melted butter and season with the salt and pepper.

6. Truss the chicken legs and tuck the little wing tips under the chicken’s body. 

7. Place the onions, carrots, and fennel (I added a cut-up parsnip ’cause I had a lonely one handly) in the bottom of the roasting pan. Toss with salt and pepper, the 20 sprigs of thyme (I only had a few) and a little olive oil. Place the chicken  on top of the vegetables.

8. Roast for one and a half hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and a thigh. Remove the bird and vegetables to a platter and cover with foil for about 20 minutes. Slice up the chicken and serve with the vegetables.


Here’s how I finished the dish. While the chicken was resting, I poured the pan drippings into another container and removed as much of the fat as possible. Then I added about 1/4 c. white wine to the pan and scraped up the little goodies on the bottom, those caramelized bits of chicken, carrots, and the rest of the veggies. Over medium heat, returned the drippings and some chicken broth (saved from a previous dinner) and a little splash of cream.  I drizzled this over the veggies and chicken when they were served next to mashed potatoes which were ready just in time.

It’s trash day tomorrow so I went ahead and removed the remaining chicken from the bone and will decide what to do with it tomorrow. I’m way too full and tired to think of it now. I know I’ll be glad I took care of that little chore right away. I can get rid of the carcass immediately. I hate to keep chicken bones in the freezer. I’m not always prepared to make broth each time I have chicken. I would love to be able to have a ready supply. Oh well. Dream on.

Any suggestions?

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