- 1 med onion, peeled and thickly sliced
- 3 stalks celery, halved lengthwise
- 4 carrots, trimmed and split lengthwise in half
- 1 (3 to 4 lb) whole chicken, cavity cleaned and rinsed
- Kosher or fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 1 small onion, trimmed, peeled, and quartered
- Fresh herbs such as sage, thyme, parsley, or rosemary, rinsed
- Olive or vegetable oil
- Onion powder, optional
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup chicken broth or water
The key to baking a great chicken is to cover it for about 60 minutes and then finish it off, uncovered so the skin gets crispy, for another 20-30 minutes or until clear juices run from the chicken, 165 degrees
- Set the oven racks to the top one is in the lower third of the oven. You want plenty of room for the air to circulate around the chicken. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil the bottom of a roasting pan that is about an inch or two larger than your chicken, preferably with 2-inch high sides.
- Use the sliced onions, celery, and carrots to create a “rack” to hold the chicken in the roasting pan. This keeps the chicken from sticking to the bottom of the pan and the vegetables flavor the drippings, helping to create the base for lovely au jus or an outstanding chicken gravy.
- Pat the chicken dry and liberally salt and pepper the inside cavity. Tuck the wing tips under the back, twisting the backwards until they are secured. Set it on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan. Insert the lemon and onion pieces in the cavity and tuck the sprigs of herbs inside.
- Brush the entire outside of the bird with a light coating of the oil. Sprinkle the tops of the breast and legs with more salt, pepper, and onion powder if desired. Pour the chicken broth or water in the bottom of the roasting pan.
- Place the roasting pan in the hot oven and let the chicken cook undisturbed for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the breast (not touching any bones) registers about 160°F and the skin is the color of burnished gold.
- Remove from the oven and set aside, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for about 15 minutes before carving and serving. Store any leftover chicken with the pan juices, covered, in the refrigerator.
- To Make Gravy: You can use the pan juices as an au jus or make gravy from them. Remove the chicken from the pan and set on a cutting board to rest. Strain the pan juices into a saucepan. Whisk in a cornstarch slurry (2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbsp cool water). Bring to a boil and cook until thickened. Serve over the sliced chicken
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
3 pounds boiling potatoes, peeled
1/2 cups milk
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Cut the potatoes into 1-inch cubes and place them in a large pot. Cover the potatoes with cold water and add enough salt so the water tastes quite salty. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 to 12 minutes, until the potatoes fall apart easily when pierced with a fork.
- Meanwhile, heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan, making sure it doesn’t boil. Set aside until the potatoes are done.
- As soon as the potatoes are tender, drain them in a colander. Place a food mill fitted with a small disc/blade over a glass bowl. Process the potatoes through the food mill, turning the handle back and forth to force the potatoes through the disc. As soon as the potatoes are mashed, slowly whisk in enough of the hot milk/butter mixture to make the potatoes very creamy. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and the sour cream and pepper and whisk to combine. Taste for seasoning and serve hot.
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