Chicken Attachments

My favorite parts of roasting chicken are the vegetables roasted in chicken juices and the soup.  That I think of the chicken meat itself as an added bonus probably reflects badly on the way I roast it. At least I began with some sort of guide: Beyond Salmon's notes on roasting chicken legs.

The potatoes, onions, and other vegetables (today it was broccolini) that I nest around the chicken collect and exude water, making the bottom of the chicken consistently soggy.  Because I don't have a meat thermometer I'm never quite sure when to take it out of the oven.  Testing for doneness involves cutting into it, which breaks the skin and exposes more flesh, so if it has to bake longer after testing it will lose moisture quickly.  Usually, paranoid, I err on the side of overdone, but this time by accident I undercooked it.  You can see in the photo that the leg meat looks fairly pink, as did the breast meat.  So I baked the meat sealed in in tinfoil at 300 F for another fifteen minutes or so.  Much of it is just going to go into the soup anyway.

Anyway, about the vegetables.  The slices of onion and potato were sidled up to the chicken after the first ten minutes of baking (at 450 F).  When the chicken was done (or so I thought), the potatoes were not.  At this point I removed the chicken, added the broccolini to the roasting pan, mixed it in, and put it back in the oven for about another twenty minutes.  The vegetables have been soaking up flavor from the chicken, olive oil, lemon juice (along with the lemon halves in the pan), garlic, black pepper, and salt.  (If it were summer, there would also be thyme.)  I adore them.

It occurs to me that the problem of soggy-bottom might be alleviated if I roasted the vegetables in another pan and poured the liquid from the chicken roasting pan into it when the chicken is done.  Alternatively I could make a gravy out of the chicken drippings and pour it over separately roasted vegetables.  But there is something appealing about this doomed method of roasting them together.

7 December 2010