Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Stress Reducer

One of the smartest ways to handle holiday stress is to cook ahead, or to cook dishes that have components that can be re-combined with new ingredients in ways that find you spending less time in the kitchen and more time with your family and/or guests.

Roast Chicken with Herbs and Butter is one of those simple recipes, more a technique really than a recipe, and depending upon the quantities prepared, you can find yourself with a delicious meal and past that, with roast chicken ready and available for use in any number of other dishes.

The only way to go wrong with this recipe (and believe me, if there IS a way I will find it), is to overcook this and be left with dry chicken whose flavor has all gone into the pan juices. The best way to avoid this for me has been to get the chicken pieces sorted out according to size in two pans, and take the pan with the smaller pieces out 10 minutes after turning to rest and finish cooking through. Another option I employ is to cut the chicken breasts into two pieces if they are especially large. And, again, it is best to test for doneness after 10 minutes unless you know your oven (or your protein) really well.

Two meals or more from the energy of one? That always makes for a pretty Merry day in my book.

Without further ado:

Roast Chicken with Herbs and Butter

4 (skin on) chicken breast halves or 8 thighs or drumsticks or any combination
8 pats of butter for a total of 2-3 tablespoons
4 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves (or 2 tsp fresh tarragon, or 2 tbsp snipped fresh dill) or to taste
salt and pepper
1 lemon, cut into quarters

Heat oven to 500 degrees. Loosen skin of chicken and insert a pat or two of butter, depending on size of pieces, and a portion of herbs under the skin.

Sprinkle skin with salt and pepper and place pieces, skin side up, in a roasting pan just large enough to accommodate chicken.

Roast, turning pan from front to back once after 15 minutes (do not turn pieces).

Chicken is usually done when nicely browned, 10 to 15 minutes later (about 30 minutes total). You can cut into a piece or two to make sure juices are running clear.

Serve hot or warm, with lemon wedges.
Yield: 4 servings
Time: 40 minutes

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