Wednesday, September 22, 2021

What’s for dinner?

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Bailey Woodean
I have been a freelance writer for more than 4 years, a mom for more than 2 years, and a wife for just under a year. I am currently a student in a cooking and catering program with the intention of expanding my knowledge of the culinary business. I then plan to take this knowledge to properly write about and critique restaurants and food. Writing to you from Niagara Falls, NY, thanks for joining me on the ride!
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Roasted herb chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, roasted carrots, steamed broccoli and gravy made from scratch!

Yes, that does sound like a crazy big dinner (and it was!) but, even more, it was delicious! I, personally, made each item from scratch, with love and the result was perfect! So, if you’re looking for a fabulous family dinner that definitely requires some coordination, give this one a go!

The chicken

What's for Dinner The chicken

Making my roast chicken began three days ago. I had purchased a whole chicken from my local grocery store about a month ago but, I wasn’t quite ready to take on such a big meal prep item so, in the freezer, it went. Three days ago, I removed the chicken from the freezer and gave it a full day to thaw in the refrigerator.

Once the “thaw day” had ended, I began to create my brine. Now, I have never made brining liquid before and I did some research before ultimately creating my own.

I began with 3 to 4 quarts of water in my large 6-quart pot. I then started adding every seasoning that I had that I knew would add incredible flavor to the chicken. I chose salt, black peppercorns, fresh whole basil leaves, bay leaves, whole garlic cloves, rosemary, thyme, and parsley. I let all of this boil for about 20 minutes to make sure that the salt is dissolved and the water is properly infused by all of these flavors.

The next step is to allow the brining liquid to cool, otherwise, it will begin cooking the chicken and you don’t want that to happen yet. Once the brining liquid is cool, place the whole chicken in a large stockpot and pour the brining liquid over it. If it isn’t enough to cover the chicken completely, add more water until the chicken is covered. Wrap and cover the stockpot and place it into the refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours.

Finally, after the bringing process is done, remove the whole chicken from the stockpot and rinse it in cold water then pat it dry. Place it on the rack inside of your roasting pan. Stuff 5 garlic cloves into the cavity, followed by half of the red onion and about four more garlic cloves. Soften a stick of butter in the microwave and rub all sides of the chicken be sure to get into the creases and even the inside cavity.

Then, liberally season all sides of the chicken with salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme and any other seasoning you may want. Add onion and carrots to the roasting pan if you wish, cover and roast in a preheated 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven for about two hours. Finish it off uncovered, under the broiler for about 15 minutes. Remove the roasting pan, and cover the chicken in aluminum foil for about 20 minutes to rest. 

What is for Dinner The chicken

The mashed potatoes

The mashed potatoes

My mashed potatoes are made with skin on. I know that not everyone likes their mashed potatoes this way but my family does. It retains nutritional value while adding texture. This time I used sour cream in place of cream cheese or milk and I also repurposed the whole garlic cloves that had been in the roasting pan with the chicken and carrots. I also added parsley, salt, and pepper and a stick of butter.

Roasted herb chicken

The carrots were added to the roasting pan surrounding the chicken as it cooked for those two hours. They were seasoned with salt and pepper initially but they also absorbed some of the flavors from the chicken drippings.

The broccoli was not seasoned at all. They were simply cleaned, cut, and steamed.

Roasted herb chicken

The gravy was made using the pan drippings from the chicken, water, and cornstarch. Aside from possibly adding a pinch of salt, I would not change anything about this gravy!

Roastedherbchicken3

In the end, the chicken was beautifully flavorful and moist! The mashed potatoes were creamy with an added tangy flavor from the sour cream, the carrots and broccoli we’re tender and offered their own levels of flavor to the dish and the gravy was beautiful and brought the entire dish together! I think this may become a household favorite!

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