September 16, 2011

Thanksgiving food cravings

I bought a whole fryer chicken from Whole Foods a few weeks ago and stuck it in the freezer. I bought it with the intention of roasting it.   I love to make roasted chicken.  It was one thing I made in Rakiraki all of the time.  It made me think of home and comfort food.  There wasn't much comfort food in Fiji unless I made it myself of food sent from the States.  I made cornbread several times last week too, so I thought I could use the stale bread to make cornbread stuffing to go along with the roasted chicken.  Stuffing is my specialty during Thanksgiving.  My mom lets me make it every year and I think I've gotten pretty good at it.

First, I thawed and rinsed off the chicken and patted it dry with a paper towel.  Then I brushed it with EVOO and made a paste of herbs.  I mixed together chopped fresh basil, dried thyme and sage, 2 cloves of garlic, salt and pepper.  I didn't measure but tried to use about the same amount.  I used a mortar and pestle to grind them together and then brushed the herbs on the chicken.  This went into a 375 degree oven for 1 hour. 

Broiler/Frying Chickens
1 1/2 to 2 pounds -- 400° -- 45 minutes to 1 hour
2 to 2 1/2 pounds -- 400° -- 1 to 1 1/4 hours
2 1/2 to 3 pounds -- 375° -- 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours
3 to 4 pounds -- 375° -- 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 hours

Matt was sick that day and was laying in bed while I started dinner.  About 20 minutes later when the chicken and herb smell started wafting through the apartment, he was like "What is that smell? It smells great!"  That made me smile.  He was very enthusiastic.  Yay!

The night before I had parboiled cut up potatoes and carrots for about 20 minutes.  I left the peelings on both.  Some people probably think not peeling a carrot is gross but I love how the skin tastes and it's super nutritious.  Just clean them really good.  I didn't want to cook them all the way but just enough so that it wouldn't take long to roast.  I also prepared most of the stuffing as well so that it could be baked and ready to go.  I like to prepare most things before the day I cook them so I can spend more time with Matt when he's visiting.  Awww. I know, we are too cute.

I throw ingredients into stuffing, I don't measure a thing.  I think measuring is for the birds unless you are baking and I don't bake much so it works out in my favor.

Cornbread Stuffing

  • 5 pieces cornbread triangles, crumbled
  • 1/2 bag Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix
  • 1 egg
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 TB butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-2 cups organic chicken stock
  • 1 TB ground sage

Cornbread stuffing
Saute the celery and onion in the butter over medium-low heat.  When both have softened, removed from heat and set aside.  In a large bowl mix the cornbread and stuffing mix with the celery and onion.  Then add the egg and sage.  Slowly pour in the chicken stock until it's the consistency you prefer.  I like my stuffing pretty wet so that after it bakes it is still very moist.  If you want to add some of your chicken drippings after the chicken has cooked, that will add nice flavor as well.  My 3 pound chicken didn't produce as much as I thought.   Taste the stuffing, the stock may have added enough salt already but if not add salt, then pepper in last. Put into a casserole dish and cover.  This will go into a 325 degree oven for 20 minutes.  I cheated and just put it in with the chicken when there was 20 minutes left.  After the chicken is cooked thoroughly (always check with a meat thermometer), remove and left sit before carving so the juices won't run straight out.  I then placed the potatoes and carrots into the same roasting pan and cooked those for 20 minutes.  This is when I added the stuffing to the oven.  I warmed up some green beans, invited my roomie to join and we all settled down for a nice dinner.





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