Monday, February 28, 2011

Baking Chicken experiment

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).
This is what a bottle of lemon juice and a bottle of Dijon look like without showing any brand names, in case you didn't know.

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.

This is what the underside of the chicken should look like when it's done. Please don't judge me for the jar of garlic. They only had Chinese garlic at the market and it looked nasty.

Flip the chicken over. We're going to give it the same treatment as the underside. First salt.
You can tell I'm salting the chicken here because you can see a chicken in the picture. Oh wait... I just realized I took a picture of my salty hand.

Pepper the top side, same as the bottom.

Brush your sauce/ crust mixture onto the top.

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.
Scrub your potatoes and cut them in half this-a-ways.

Then quarter those halves, this-a-ways.

Oh my gosh, is that a normal picture of a person salting food. I think I hear angels singing. Salt and pepper your potatoes.

Guzzle a tablespoon or two of olive oil over the taters. Toss it all together with your fingers so that every tater has enough seasoning. Add these around the chicken.

This is the prebaked product.

And here is the prebaked product with my thermometer probe buried into it's breast. Literally. Apparently you're supposed to stick the probe in horizontally not vertically. Someone told me that after the mess that you're about to read about.

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 then I ate it! This one had a really good sized thigh. In my house, I get the thigh and my husband gets the wing and the drumstick. I hate chicken breast, so the breast gets saved for another recipe the next day. The lemon Dijon crust was lovely, but I didn't eat all of the skin because it's not that healthy. You can have a little bit and still feel good. Husband did eat all the skin.

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.


  1. Nice! I LOVE chicken thighs too... but Dave doesn't really like chicken with bones in, so we haven't had any in quite a while. Which is sad, because this looks great (even with all the timer issues).

    Where'd you get your thermometer/timer? Looks like a nice method for cooking, as long as you get it in right ;)

  2. I ordered that thermometer on Amazon. It's a great set up, I just need to figure out how to use it properly. Maybe if you baked Dave a chicken he'd get over the bones. And then you can show him what wonderful soups come out of home made stock.

  3. I've baked him quite a few chickens... Julia Child recipes, Maple glazed chickens... yeah he just doesn't like the work of taking the meat off the bones. He also doesn't like crab legs because of the work involved in cracking them to get the meat out. Silly boy!

    I'm excited to see your stock recipe. I've been making my own this year so far, with mixed results.

  4. Ohh, I would very much like to kno how to make maple glazed chicken!!!


    There's the maple glazed chicken recipe! It's fabulous, especially with sweet potatoes.