Thursday, October 19, 2006

Roast Chicken and Our Take on Chicken Soup

One reason why I like to browse the Well-Trained Mind general discussion board is that sometimes people post good recipes. I now have a favorite way to roast a chicken. PariSarah posted this:

"Cut out the backbone, break the breastbone with the flat of your palm, smoosh the bird flat on a baking sheet with a lip (or in a roasting pan), and drizzle with a little olive oil. The skin will lift up easily, so you can make a little herb paste if you want--either chopped mixed fresh herbs or dried herbs moistened with olive oil--and spread it under the skin.

Roast at 425. It takes about 45 minutes for one, maybe longer for two if they're in the same pan."

I roasted two chickens this way recently with success. Flattening the chickens made them easier to season and they took less time to cook. I also like the roast sticky chicken method of baking chicken at 250 for 5 hours, but lately, I don't have my act together for supper 5 hours ahead of time. I seasoned one of the birds with sage, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper mixed with olive oil to make a paste. The other bird, I seasoned with chinese five spice seasoning mixed with some toasted sesame oil. Both tasted delicious!

After supper, I debone whatever chicken is left and put the juices leftover in the pan(s) in a jar. The next day, I make chicken soup. I skim off the fat from the jar and heat the chicken broth in my 8 qt. pot along with 10-12 cups of water and an appropriate amount of msg-free chicken bouillon. I start out by adding 1/2 cup of brown rice which takes the longest to cook, or if I'm in a hurry, I use whole wheat noodles. As far as vegetables go, I usually add 1/2 a green cabbage, 2 cups of chopped carrots, a chopped onion, sometimes chopped celery, at least a tsp. of minced garlic, and towards the end, some frozen green beans. Sometimes I add other vegetables such as zucchini or yellow squash. I should call the soup "Scarborough Fair" soup, because I season it with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme and then throw in a bay leaf for good measure. Of course, don't forget to add the chicken! However, the unique ingredient that my family likes in our chicken soup is chunky natural peanut butter which I add in at the very end ~ 1/2 to 1 cup. If you are inclined to scoff, then apparently you've never heard of West African Groundnut soup! Good Stuff, Maynard.