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Sunday, June 16, 2013

The perfect roasted chicken dinner

The other night, I just felt like one of those "comfort dinners" know what I mean.  A roasted chicken that is cooked just right, some cranberry sauce, some kind of vegetable, and either potato, rice, or maybe a stuffing.  Well......this night was it.  I let a chicken come to room temperature, cleaned it out and dried it.  Now for what makes it delicious..... Sprinkle with onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and a little thyme.  I coat the top first, then spray with Pam.  I place the chicken in the roasting pan breast side down, and season the bottom.  After a quick spray with the Pam, I pop it into a 350 degree oven for about 1 1/2 hours (depending on the weight of the chicken, of course !

Check a roasting time table on line for how long you should cook your bird!  About half way through the cooking time, I turn the chicken over so that it will finish cooking right side up.  Doing it this way will guarantee that the breast meat will come out juicy and tender every time.

Now for my side dishes.  I had some fresh green beans and decide to make what's called a gremolata for them.  The gremolata is made by combining freshly chopped parsley (about 3 tbs), about a tablespoon of lemon zest and chopped fresh garlic.  To this, I add about 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, and 2 tablespoons of pine nuts.

The key to  getting the beans just right is to blanch them for about 3-5 minutes (immerse them in boiling water quickly).  Once they are that beautiful bright green, pour them into a strainer and wash with cold water to stop them from cooking.  When you are ready to eat dinner, you will reheat them and add the "gremolata" mixture.

I decide to cook my favorite rice, Jasmine rice with ginger.  It is so easy and quick.  Start with the correct measurements of liquid and rice for the amount of servings you need.  I use chicken broth instead of water.  I also grate in about a tablespoon of fresh ginger.  All that is left is to add some butter and salt and pepper.  The rice cooks in about 10 minutes, so keep an eye on it so it won't over cook.

Timing and technique is everything with this dinner.  By technique, I mean cooking the chicken upside down for the first half of the cooking time, blanching and not boiling the beans, and quickly cooking the jasmine rice with fresh ginger.  I do believe this whole dinner came together in a little less than 1 1/2 hours.  I checked to make sure the chicken was done the same way my mother did.... grab onto the leg bone and move it  up and down.  If it moves freely, the chicken is done.....every time!  I let it sit while I grab some cranberry sauce.

Every once in a while, we all need a dinner like that is straight forward and just delicious!

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