#99—My Wayne Gretzky of Posts: Herb-Rubbed Roasted Chicken Dinner

9 Jul

The reference to #99 is a Canadian one, dear readers. Wayne Gretzky, arguably the finest (ice) hockey player this country has produced, wore the number 99 on his hockey jersey. This is the 99th post for Savvy Single Suppers, arguably Canada’s finest home-cooking blog for the single crowd! In Wayne’s honour, this will be a high scoring post offering a complete “Sunday-Supper” style meal.

Herb-Rubbed Roast Chicken, Roasted Tomato Relish and Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Herb-Rubbed Roast Chicken, Roasted Tomato Relish and Mashed Sweet Potatoes

According to the web, Wayne’s favourite meals are spaghetti with meat sauce or steak (see http://www.vancouverobserver.com/blogs/tmi/2012/01/26/10-ways-celebrate-wayne-gretzkys-birthday). No surprise a pro athlete would favour red meat and carbs. However, I’d wager a bet my Herb Rubbed Roast Chicken served with Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Warm Roasted Tomato Relish and the green vegetable of your choice could win Wayne over. If he’d like to just call before he drops in, I’d make enough for him and his family.

Learning to make a rub, or a variety of them, is a terrific way to impart great flavours to a whole repertoire of meat, poultry, fish and seafood. A little flipping through cookbooks specializing in regional cuisines will give you a sense of their predominate herbs, spices and seasonings. Experimenting with proportions and combinations will be a fun way to try cooking some of your favourite ethnic foods.

Rubs may be entirely dry. Dry ones need a good manual rubbing into the surface of the protein and the expectation that some of the mixture will end up seasoning the bottom of your pan. A bonus if you plan to make gravy or an au jus sauce or even a fruit accompaniment for your meat.

The one I chose for my little 3.5 pound fryer chicken included a bit of olive oil and lemon juice which left me with a thick paste-like rub. It’s common practice to cover poultry skin with oil (or butter, wine, juice), so this concoction would work well on a whole chicken.

Assemble the herbs and seasonings for the rub.

Assemble the herbs and seasonings for the rub.

Herb-Rubbed Roast Chicken Dinner                                                 Serves: 4

Chicken Ingredients:

  •  1 – 3.5 lb / 1.6 kg                                          fryer chicken
  •  2                                                                      lemons, 1 cut in 1/8’s, 2nd halved
  •  2 tsp /10 mL                                                 dried oregano
  •  1 tsp  / 5 mL                                                  dried parsley
  •  1 tsp  / 5 mL                                                  dried thyme
  •  1/2 tsp / 2.5 mL                                            paprika
  •   1/2 tsp/ 2.5 mL                                            black pepper
  •   1/2 tsp / 2.5 mL                                           garlic powder
  •   1/4 tsp / 1.25 mL                                         sea salt
  •   drizzle or two                                                extra virgin olive oil, to create a thick paste
  • 4 – 5                                                                  whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 – 4                                                                  celery stalk tops with leaves

Ingredients for Roasted Tomato Relish:                         Serves: 2

  • 1 pint / 0.550 L                                           cherry or cocktail tomatoes
  • 1 medium                                                      red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4                                                                      whole cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • several sloshes                                             extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch                                                              sea salt
  • several dashes                                              freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp / 2.5 mL                                           sugar

Ingredients for Mashed Sweet Potatoes:                         Serves: 2

  • 2 small or 1 x-large                                      sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • to taste                                                           butter or EVOO
  • pinch each                                                     cinnamon and cloves

Chicken Instructions:

2.     Follow the Savvy Single Basics instructions here for preparing your chicken for roasting.

3.     In a small bowl or ramekin, stir together the oregano, parsley, thyme, paprika, pepper, garlic powder and salt.

4.     Squeeze the juice from 2 of the lemon eighths into the bowl. Add a drizzle of EVOO. Stir together to create a thick paste. Add a little more olive oil if necessary so you can easily spread the paste.

Mix dry herbs and seasonings. Moisten with lemon juice and EVOO to make a thick paste.

Mix dry herbs and seasonings. Moisten with lemon juice and EVOO to make a thick paste.

5.     Season the cavity of the bird with sea salt and black pepper. Stuff cavity with whole garlic cloves, celery leaves and the remaining 6 lemon eighths. Skewer cavities closed.

Season cavity and stuff with lemon wedges, whole garlic and celery leaves.

Season cavity and stuff with lemon wedges, whole garlic and celery leaves.

6.     Tie the chicken legs together at the ankles in front of the large cavity.

7.      Rub the paste all over the chicken skin. Set on the rack in the roast pan and squeeze the juice from a half a lemon over top of the chicken.

Rub paste all over skin of chicken.

Rub paste all over skin of chicken.

8.     Roast, uncovered, in pre-heated 375 F/190 C oven for 1 hour 45 minutes (about 30 minutes per pound).

Seasoned, Stuffed 'n' Trussed: Ready for the Oven.

Seasoned, Stuffed ‘n’ Trussed: Ready for the Oven.

At the 45 minute mark, squeeze the juice of the remaining 1/2 lemon over the chicken. Every 20 minutes thereafter moisten the skin of the chicken using a turkey baster and the pan juices, Roast until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 185 F (85 C) when inserted into the fleshy part of a thigh avoiding bone. [Or roast the chicken in your propane BBQ (using indirect heat) or spin it on a rotisserie. The cooking time will vary depending on the method and your equipment, so use your instant read digital thermometer to make certain the internal temperature reaches 375 F.]

Roasted to perfection.

Roasted to perfection.

9.     Remove chicken from the pan, set on a cutting board, tent with foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

10.    A Savvy Single eats 2 portions of Herb-Rubbed Roast Chicken served with Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Tomato Relish and a green vegetable. Slice and wrap remaining chicken for use in sandwiches, salads or soups in the coming week or freeze for future menus.

Instructions for Roast Tomato Relish:

1.      Line a 9″ square baking pan with foil. Toss together cherry tomatoes, onion, unpeeled garlic cloves, salt, sugar and pepper. Drizzle with EVOO until vegetables are well-coated.

2.      After the chicken has roasted for an hour, pop the pan into the 375 F oven, stirring every 25 minutes or so. Remove from oven when the tomatoes have softened into a thick pulp and the onions have browned significantly, about 50 minutes.

3.      While the chicken rests, remove garlic cloves from the pan, squeezing the roasted garlic from their papery skins into the mixture. Stir well and keep warm to serve as a condiment with the chicken.

Savvy Single "Sunday Style" Supper.

Savvy Single “Sunday Style” Supper.

Instructions for Mashed Sweet Potatoes

1.         Place peeled, diced sweet potato into a medium-sized sauce pan. Fill with water, allowing 1 – 2 inches above the potatoes. Begin to cook these nutritional powerhouse tubers when half an hour remains in the roasting time for the chicken.

2.         Bring to a boil and then simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are soft, but not mushy, about 20 – 25 minutes (This will depend on the size of your dice and the power of your burner element.) If the sweet potatoes cook before your roast chicken rests, remove the potato pot from the heat and cover to keep warm.

3.     Just before carving the chicken, remove the pot from heat and drain potatoes. Return the potatoes to the pot and roughly mash using a potato ricer or masher. Add butter or EVOO to taste (you don’t need much), and pinches of cinnamon and cloves. Mash until smooth and thick. Keep warm until ready to serve.

. . . . the 100th Savvy Single Suppers post will be appropriately celebratory: Grandma Nellie’s Chocolate Cake recipe (Adapted).

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2 Responses to “#99—My Wayne Gretzky of Posts: Herb-Rubbed Roasted Chicken Dinner”

  1. Debby Simpson July 10, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    This looks really good. Congratulations on your 99th post!

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