Roasting A Home Raised Chicken

| 10/20/2009 9:36:00 AM

Hank and Missy the Katahdin lamb.It took daughter Alaina and me a while to get to the place where we really felt like eating one of the broiler chickens we processed last week. We finally succumbed to the idea of a succulent, moist, broiler – slow cooked in the oven – on Saturday. Alaina had the presence of mind to put the bird out to thaw early in the morning. By the time I had beaten myself to a tired, sore mass from working around the farm all day, I didn’t have the energy to smoke the bird in the Orion smoker, which was our original plan. We’re both glad now that the smoker never got lit.

I’m a firm believer that awesome food can stand on its own; I find that holds true particularly with clean, healthy, home-raised, free-range meat. I don’t put sauce on my steaks and as much as I like smoked chicken, I love heavy broilers roasted simply too.

 Roasted Broiler Chicken

Since I was out of steam and fading fast, I took the thawed bird, gave it a quick rinse and patted it dry with a paper towel. I took one fresh lemon, cut it in half and squeezed the juice onto the breast-side of the bird and rubbed it in a bit. I then stuck the lemon halves into the broiler’s body cavity. Normally, I would chop a few cloves of garlic and some rosemary, mix it with olive oil and put it under the broiler’s skin – but I was just too beat to mess with the garlic and we didn’t have any fresh rosemary around so I just skipped that step. Ah, the life of a bachelor – no recipe police in sight.

Even though I knew there wasn’t any rosemary to be found, I cruised the fridge for something green and found a small bundle of almost done cilantro. Yep, I just stuffed that bundle of flavor into the cavity behind the lemon halves. The last seasoning step was to sprinkle a little Kosher salt over the entire broiler. I don’t know why I do that, but I have always done it. Perhaps it’s my way of rebelling against my physician – he’s always brooding about my blood pressure.

I don’t have a proper roasting pan so I set the works into a 12-inch ceramic pie plate (the tail stuck out and made a bit of an oily mess in the oven) and shoved it into a 350-degree oven. And there the broiler sat until the juices ran clear and the meat thermometer that Alaina stuck in the breast said the meat was safe to eat. I can’t report on the actual temperature because it just says chicken on the thermometer’s dial.

Hank Will_2
10/21/2009 8:13:42 AM

Thanks for the comment, Brenda. I agree that at times it is just fine to go without a recipe. I love cookbooks but don't love all the measuring and the like. I follow recipes for things like corn bread (I always monkey with proportions though) and pizza dough, but never for mac and cheese or potato salad. I should follow recipes sometimes, especially when I want to reproduce something that worked well.

Brenda Kipp_1
10/20/2009 4:28:32 PM

Sounds absolutley delicious, Hank. My mouth was watering as I read your blog. Sometimes making things up as you go along makes a better meal than following a recipe!