Thursday, November 13, 2008

Roast Chicken- Budget Friendly Comfort Food

This is one of the most versatile, budget friendly recipes I know. I posted a basic recipe awhile back but I thought it deserved a more detailed post and some pictures since it is such a staple in my kitchen.

What makes this meal budget friendly? Whole chickens regularly go on sale near me for around .90 cents per pound, which makes a good size roasting chicken about $4. With this $4 chicken, I make a big roast chicken meal with potatoes and gravy, then two leftover chicken meals (see below for some ideas) and then finally about four quarts of chicken stock. All for about the price of what it would cost to buy the chicken stock alone. That seems like a pretty good deal to me.

Still need convincing? It is easy- we are talking 10 minutes of prep and an hour and a half in the oven. Plus, it makes your house smell like wonderful home cooked food and is so much tastier than plain old chicken breasts.

Roast Chicken

1 roasting chicken (4-5 pounds)
Kosher salt and pepper
1 lemon (or orange or apple or onion or garlic) cut in quarters
1 small bunch of thyme
1 tablespoon butter at room temperature

Preheat oven to 425.

Remove the chicken giblets. Place the chicken in a large roasting pan (I use my beloved Le Creuset Dutch Oven, which my husband is convinced has made my chickens better).

Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Then stuff the cavity with the thyme and lemon. I often forget to buy a lemon, and I have found that onions, oranges, apples and garlic also work just fine. Just stuff whatever you have available in there.

Next, spread the butter over the outside of the chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper. If you don't have butter a little olive oil will also work. Your chicken should now look something like this:

Roast for 1 1/2 hours. Your chicken will now look like this:


Cover and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes. Since I use my Le Creuset Dutch oven, I just pop the cover on. This pot keeps the chicken nice and warm so I usually let it rest for closer to forty minutes while I make my sides. The longer it sits, the moister it seems to get.

And did I mention I also make my stock in this very same pot? Okay enough about the pot.

Slice the chicken and serve.

And finally, some ideas for using up that left over chicken:
Chicken Chili
BBQ Chicken Panini
Chicken Caesar Salad
Chicken Salad Sandwich

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  1. We eat a roasted chicken every other week or so. I know, how boring! We LOVE it! I do not, however, have a Dutch Oven like you do. You might just have me sold on Le Creuset!

  2. That is a seriously gorgeous-looking chicken!

  3. That is fantastic, Beth! I'm so excited to see this recipe. I have not bought a roasted chicken in ages b/c they are too expensive. I really didn't know it was this easy, so I'm signing up to try this myself. What a perfect week - roasted chicken and then all the leftovers! Great idea, great recipe.

  4. Sorry - that was me, Shannon - A Crafty Mom - I'm out of town on my sister's computer and am logged in as her - whoops.

  5. I also made this this week - fantastic. Easier than I thought and far tastier than the ones I used to buy at the supermarket. My only problem is price - food is a bit more expensive up here and I can't find a whole chicken for $4-5. Mine was $7.99 and you can get a roasted one at the store for that (6.99 or 7.99 at Costco up here). I'll keep looking for a better deal - then I might end up cooking one 2-3 times a week.