Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Orange Roast Chicken with Red Wine

Hi! This is Lianne. Joseph's been cooking up some fabulous soup recipes lately, even though winter seems to have forgotten to be cold in San Diego. But we're still getting frosty nights, so a nice warm bowl of homemade soup is especially welcome. But in this case, the chicken (or turkey) comes first!

Before we post the Creamy Cosmic Potato Leek Soup recipe, or the Creamiest Mushroom Soup Ever, I'm going to give you a little preliminary advice about making soup stock that you'll save in the freezer for making those recipes later. It's usually my job as kitchen assistant.
  1. It's EASY to make soup stock
  2. It's hugely beneficial, full of minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium in easy-to-absorb form
  3. Anybody can make it
  4. Once it's in your freezer, making soup is a breeze
You'll start by roasting a whole chicken or a turkey or other bird. You can roast it any way you like, but here's one my favorite ways to do it quickly. The flesh is delicately seasoned with oranges, and the wine basting makes it very tender.

Orange Roast Chicken with Red Wine

1 whole, organic, range-free roasting chicken
1 orange, cut in eighths to make wedges
1/2 small onion, cut in wedges
Parsley, washed fresh sprigs
Olive oil
Dry red wine
Tools: Roasting pan; metal or glass baster preferred

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. (Or if yours is like ours and won't hold that temperature, 350 degrees.) The lower temperatures is preferred.

Rinse the chicken inside and out, saving the liver and gizzard for one of Joseph's sausage recipes. Place the neck in a large, quart-sized freezer bag because you'll be adding the carcass and leg bones to the bag after you eat the chicken. (Remember: Scrupulously wash up with soap after all chicken handling: counters, sinks, hands, utensils.)

Sprinkle salt and pepper inside the main cavity. (It helps if someone holds it open for you.) Push in a parsley sprig, then press orange wedges in so the juicy part will be near the meat, alternating with onion wedges and parsley sprigs. Keep it loose or the chicken will take longer to cook.

Rub the outside with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place the bird in a small roasting pan. (Too large and you'll lose the valuable pan juices to evaporation; too small and it will spill fat into the bottom of the oven.) Add about 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the pan, no more. Place chicken in the oven and set a timer for 10 minutes so the salt and pepper can "set" before the first basting.

When the timer goes off, pour about a quarter to half cup of red wine over the bird. Close the oven and set the timer again for 35-40 minutes. Next time you baste, first use a baster to scoop up the juices and pour over the chicken. (If they've evaporated, add a little more water to the pan until the natural juices start to accumulate. But don't overdo it or you'll water down the valuable pan juices.) Before you close up the oven and set the timer for another 35-50 minutes, pour another dose of red wine over the bird.

Baste the chicken with pan juices and red wine like this, every half hour or so, until a meat thermometer stuck in the breast (but not against a bone) reads 190 degrees. This may take up to two hours or more with today's fat chickens and the stuffing you've added.

When done, remove the bird, which should be nicely browned, and let it sit a few minutes before carving. Discard the onions and oranges. Enjoy!
Preparation for the Soup Stock:
After dinner, save the leg bones and wings from plates and add them to the freezer bag with the neck. (Don't be squeamish! They'll be boiled for a looonggg time. Unless you have extenuating reasons to discard them.) When you've eaten all the chicken, add the carcass to the other bones in the freezer. It will be waiting for the day you're ready to make the stock.

Tip: Instead of making gravy from the pan drippings, try freezing the drippings and fat in a small plastic container. This delicious liquid will add wonderful flavor to your stock or other recipes later!

Next post: How to Make Super-Nutritious Chicken or Turkey Stock

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