Friday, April 16, 2010

The Easiest From-Scratch Dinner Ever

Okay, maybe not EVER, but it is pretty easy.  When we arrived in Moldova, I had never been a “real” housewife before.  I worked full-time up until I had Jude, and during that time we would eat easy meals like spaghetti with sauce from a jar or frozen dinners like Skillet Sensations.  After Jude was born, I had a long and difficult recovery, and only started to feel better about the time we moved to live with our parents for 3 months in preparation for moving here.  Suffice it to say that I had no idea how to cook.  So being here has been my initiation into housewifery.  And what an initiation it has been!

This is not like living in the States, where if I’m feeling lazy I can order Chinese or run to Kroger for a pre-cooked chicken.  I even have to cook my “lazy day” meals here, or else we don’t eat.  And now I present to you my favorite “lazy day” meal: roasted chicken.

Soon after moving here, Stephanie came over and gave me a tutorial on how to roast a chicken, and, although it defies every instruction I’ve read in cookbooks, it makes delicious roasted chicken, so I’m sticking with it.  I’ve added my own touches along the way, and here is what is currently my favorite way to do it:

Roasted Chicken

1 broiler chicken (the ones I get are about 1.5 kilos, or 3 pounds)
1 red apple
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic
lemon juice, or an actual lemon, I suppose
spices (usually basil, thyme, and sweet paprika)
salt & pepper

1.  Preheat your oven to about 375 degrees F.  Cut up the apple, onion and clove of garlic (I usually do a large clove in 3 pieces).

2.  Wash off the chicken and cut off the fat around the butt.  Make sure all of the feathers are taken care of; you don’t want any of those getting in your teeth.

3.  Put the chicken in a roasting pan and cover it all over, inside and out, with salt, pepper, and spices.  Then squirt lemon juice all over it.  If you’re using a real lemon, you could just include it with step 4.

4.  Stuff the inside with the apple, onion, and garlic.  Leave remaining apple and onion pieces in the pan around the chicken.

5.  This is apparently upside down, but I like to roast my chicken breast-side-down because it makes the breast meat a lot juicier and more flavorful.  Now pour lots of water into the pan, but not directly onto the chicken or you’ll wash off all of your spices.  I usually fill mine between 1/3 and 1/2 full of water.  That way, you have no worries of your chicken drying out, and you have some really yummy broth left over.  (Though if you notice, the chicken in the picture above is neither upside-down nor swimming in lots of broth; it was the first chicken I ever roasted, and I have tweaked my techniques a few times since then.)  You can strain the broth afterward and save it for making soups, rice, casseroles, or whatever suits your fancy.

6.  Now put the lid on, put it in the oven, and forget about it for about 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes.  The longer it cooks, the more tender and juicy it will be.

That’s it!  If you want a really easy side for this, poke holes in some potatoes, roll them in salt, wrap them in foil, and stick them in the oven around the roasting pan.  They will be ready at the same time as the chicken.  Also with this meal, I will often steam some carrots and then drizzle honey over them.

So there you have it.  That is my “easy” meal in Moldova.  Maybe someday I’ll tell you about what all goes into making more time-consuming meals like sweet-n-sour chicken or lasagna from scratch.

ETA: I just added this to a gluten-free carnival on The Gluten-Free Homemaker. You can check it out here.

1 comment:

  1. this looks yummy i am going to try it - thank you! :)