Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Simple and Healthy Roast Chicken With Veggies

After a long and hectic day at work, I arrived home this evening to the sweet sweet smell of roast chicken wafting down the stairs of our three story building. Nic was on dinner duty and I almost fell over with happiness when I entered our apartment to such a delicious aroma at the end of a busy day.

Roast chicken is just about the easiest, tastiest, crowd-pleasing dinner you can make with just an oven and a pan. You buy a bird, stick it in the oven for an hour and a half and you get a delicious and satisfying feast that makes the whole house smell like Thanksgiving dinner. It's THAT EASY! Buy some carrots, celery an onion and a big can of chicken broth and you have yourself a healthy well balanced dinner.

Back when we were young and naive (a few years ago in our miniscule NYC kitchen,) we used to make this meal by chopping up the veggies and throwing them in the same pan as the chicken. This of course tasted AMAZING, but I sadly had to acknowledge that the veggies tasted so good because they were soaking up all the fat and oil that was seeping out of the cooking bird. This was clearly not a sustainable way to make this dish into a healthy go-to dinner so I changed our methods but kept them just as simple. Instead of throwing the veggies into the same pan I started putting them in a separate pot filled with chicken broth to cook them at the same time as the chicken. Like this...

This way the veggies still smell like they've been roasting with the chicken, they soak up all the salty broth so they are delicious and moist BUT they aren't soaked in fatty oil. It's good stuff all around! Here are the easy steps to do this yourself...

Simplest Possible Roast Chicken with Veggies
1 Whole Chicken
Salt and Pepper
3 cups chicken broth
3 carrots - chopped
2 celery stalks - chopped
1/2 onion - chopped

-Preheat oven to 425
-Season the chicken with Salt and Pepper on the inside and out.
-Tie the legs together with a piece of twine.
-Cook for an hour and a half or until the juices run clear when you cut between the thigh and the breast.

At the same time the chicken is cooking, cook the veggies...
-Just chop them up, and throw them in another pan or pot and pour in a few cups of chicken broth.
-Put them in the oven with the chicken.
-Serve the chicken with the veggies and broth.

Apart from ease of cooking, the best part of roast chicken is the leftovers! Once we finished dinner I threw the leftover breast meat and all the leftover raw veggies we had in the fridge (carrots, celery, cabbage and onion) into the slow cooker with a few more cups of chicken broth, a bay leaf, some italian seasoning and a little salt and pepper to make some simple chicken soup while we go to sleep. I added a few chopped up prunes at the last minute to give it a little sweetness.

*UPDATE* The next day I enjoyed this soup for lunch at work and it was SOOOO Good. I will definitely use cabbage and a few prunes in all my chicken soups for now. The prunes add just a hint of sweetness to the broth and the cabbage soaks up the flavor beautifully.

Good night!

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