Thursday, May 13, 2010

Citrus Roasted Chicken and Gravy

Roasting a chicken is a fairly low maintenance dish, and this method makes the most tender, delicious chicken you'll ever have without the citrus flavor being too overwhelming. What the oranges do is keep the meat incredibly moist, while adding a wonderful flavor to the gravy. Served with lemon chive mashed potatoes, this is a must have dish in our house. This recipe makes enough for 4 people, plus some chicken left over to make Spanish Chicken Salad the next day.

An original recipe by Karen Humphrey
2 frying chickens, about 2 1/2-3 pounds each

3-4 navel oranges, cut in 1/2 and then thinly sliced
1 onion, cut into 6 pieces
1 head garlic, cloves separated and crushed
4 stalks of celery, cut in 1/2
2 lemons, cut into quarters
sprigs of fresh thyme, rosemary, and sage
olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp paprika

2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup chicken broth

Pre-heat oven to 350 F

Dry the chickens inside and out. I don't have a roasting pan, so I use a large pyrex pan big enough to hold both chickens. To begin with, I build a sort of "nest" out of the veggies to keep the chickens from resting right on the bottom of the pan. The reason for this is that the chickens will release juices, and we don't want the birds boiling away in their own juice. So I build a little pile of carrots, celery, lemon, and onion, and set each bird on top. Inside each bird I stuff some lemon, celery, carrot, and garlic. However much each will hold.

Then, run your fingers under the skin on the breasts, and down the legs into the drumsticks. Stuff with the orange slices, layering them as you go so that they cover much of the meat. Add some rosemary, thyme, and sage leaves. Make sure you don't rip the skin and that it's all intact. Brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, then paprika.

Cover the chickens with foil and bake for about 45 minutes before you take off the foil and bake them for about another 45-50 minutes more (depending on the chickens and how big they are). They are finished when your meat thermometer reads or when you can move the drumstick easily.

Remove the pan from the oven and let sit for about 10 minutes. Place a cutting board inside a rimmed cookie sheet to catch the juices, and remove the chicken to the cutting board. I then get a bowl and pull out all the orange slices, herbs, garlic, celery, etc from inside the bird and carve up the bird.

Pour all the pan juices, without the veggie and other solid bits, into a pot and bring to a boil.
In a separate bowl, just mix the cornstarch and cold chicken brother together, then whisk into the hot pan juices. They will thicken up nicely into a gravy. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the sliced roast chicken with the gravy and lemon chive mashed potatoes.

Serves 4
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