I noticed a large hen in the grocery case at a good price.
“Hmm. It’s been a while since I roasted a chicken. I think we’ll have that on Sunday,” I thought to myself and in the buggy went the bird.
As I unloaded the groceries at home, I made sure to put the fresh chicken on the lowest refrigerator shelf. The last thing I wanted was any drips of chicken juice finding their way to other foods. All poultry have long since been identified with salmonella, a bacteria that will quickly wreak havoc on the digestive system when consumed in adequate quantities.
When Sunday morning rolled around, I fetched the bird from the bottom shelf of the fridge, unwrapped it, and plopped it onto a baking rack that I had placed in a deep pan. I trimmed the hen of extra skin and went to work seasoning it for maximum flavor. I sliced open a lemon and an onion which were both stuffed into the cavity of the bird. The skin was given a rub down with canola oil and then sprinkled with garlic, salt and pepper. I slid the seasoned bird into a 350oF oven and turned to my next immediate task: cleanup.
I placed everything that had been in contact with the chicken into the sink. Then I proceeded to clean and sanitize the counter tops where I had been working. Poultry is often a carrier of salmonella and salmonella is a major illness. I’m diligent in my kitchen about cooking chicken safely plus cleaning and sanitizing after I work with poultry.
It took about 90 minutes for the bird to cook. When the skin was golden and all appearances indicated the chicken was ready to leave the oven, I pulled out my food thermometer. I inserted the thermometer probe deep into the meat of the bird and watched as the readout moved. The final temperature settled on 158 degrees F, just short of the 165 degrees F safety benchmark I was looking for. I removed the thermometer from the bird and placed the pan back in the oven.
I fished through the kitchen drawer, looking for an alcohol swab. These are a great choice for one-step cleaning and sanitizing for kitchen thermometers. With a quick swipe of the alcohol swab, the stem of the thermometer is ready to use again without any worries of passing along potential contamination.
Once my chicken had reached 165 degrees F, it was time for our Sunday meal. I carved the legs, thigh and wings off the bird along with a portion of breast meat. That was gracious plenty for my family of three.
Roasted chicken really is a tasty and easy entrée. The effort input was minimal (season the bird, wipe down the kitchen) and the flavor was excellent. My seven year son proclaimed the drumsticks to be worth the wait.
The remaining portion of the bird (extra meat, bones) went into the freezer. I have plans for that “meal package” already. It will be turned into stock and soup this weekend.
One chicken turned into two meals equals a good value for the family’s budget and good tasting food on the table. Below I’ve shared the soup recipe I intend to use this weekend. It is easy to prepare and cooks fast. I recently demonstrated this recipe on an episode of The Peggy Denny Show which will air March 14 on WGGS.
Yummy Chicken Chowder
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 chopped onion
2 stalks chopped celery
1/2 chopped bell pepper
3 ears fresh corn kernels
1 clove minced garlic
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups low-fat milk
2 chicken breasts, chopped
1 (14.75 ounces) can cream style corn
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons chopped fresh herbs (your choice of basil, oregano or thyme)
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in Dutch oven and add fresh vegetables and garlic. Cook 5 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add chicken breast, stock and milk. Allow soup to heat to a slow simmer then add canned corn. Return to simmer.
Mix cornstarch with enough water to completely dissolve then pour into hot soup while stirring. Continue stirring until soup is thickened. Serve hot.