I had a great day at work, the first one in a long time, so I decided to celebrate by baking a chicken and posting it. The experiment here was two fold. 1) I'm using the timer setting on my thermometer for the first time, and 2) I'm trying a new sauce on the outside of the bird.
Baking a chicken is VERY easy. Especially when you've got a butcher like mine who sells half chickens. Half chickens are perfect for two people and even provide us with leftovers for the next day.
I should have started taking pictures earlier in the process, sorry, but this is what we've got.
Start with your chicken half bone side up. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Whisk 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (or use a fork because who's really going to get out a whisk for such a small amount of sauce).
Use your pastry brush to apply the "sauce" to the underside of the chicken. I use the term sauce lightly. It's going to bake into a crust. Then spread 10 to 15 sprigs of fresh thyme and 4 to 5 cloves of minced garlic on the bottom side. Keeping the garlic and fresh herbs under the chicken flavors the meat without burning them.
Flip the chicken over. We're going to give it the same treatment as the underside. First salt.
Next we're going to move onto side dish number one. Potatoes. I like potatoes if you didn't notice. We're going to chop them up, season them, and bake them in the same dish as the chicken.
I set the alarm on my thermometer to 167, which is 2 degrees above the 165 degree recommended on the website I looked at two weeks ago. Are you noticing something wrong with this situation? After the bird reached 167 I took the bird out to rest and cranked the broiler up to 450. I put the potatoes back in to get a nice crisp skin while the bird rested. At this point I also had finished some frozen vegetables. You have to eat your veggies before you can have desert kids!
I started to cut open the bird when I realized the juices were running pink and not clear and it was still raw in the middle. Grrr!
So I pulled my now GORGEOUS potatoes out of the oven, put the bird back in the oven, and waited 20 minutes. 20 minutes later, the juices appeared to be running clear and the thermometer was reading over 180. Drat I thought. This bird is overcooked! It was a lie. There was still some pink juice under the chicken and it was STILL raw inside.
So in that bird went for ANOTHER 20 minutes. Don't ask me why I was baking at 20 minute intervals. I have no idea.
20 minutes later, I walked back into that kitchen fists raised, guns blasin', and cussin' up a storm that would make a fleet of sailors blush. The bird was finally done. My potatoes were now cold as were my vegetables. So back into the oven went the potatoes. Into the microwave went the vegetables. In my state of low blood sugar I managed to scramble this plate of food together.
And by the way, SAVE YOUR CHICKEN BONES. And any skin you don't eat. And all the fat, garlic, thyme, and good bits from the bottom of the pan. Put it in a container and stick it in the freezer. I'm going to show you how I make chicken stock sometime soon.