There are already Christmas ads on TV. It’s unbelievable how every year retail push up their advertisements so that we’ve finally gotten to the point of Christmas before Thanksgiving. I for one, am a little appalled seeing as that I am still in the throes of deciding what to make for the biggest eating day of the year! In anticipation for a the holiday I hosted dinner club with a Thanksgiving theme. I originally wasn’t going to make a bird, because I thought it would be too much work, not to mention for me the highlights of that meal are always the sides. But then I got to thinking that you can’t have mashed potatoes without homemade gravy, you can’t (well you can) have a meal with just carbs and starches, and finally that I shouldn’t turn down the excuse to roast in my dutch oven, which was the whole point of me getting the oval shape – so a bird would fit! In the end I caved and made one of the best roasted chickens I know how. It’s incredibly easy and looks so impressive, it’s always a crowd pleaser.
the mock Thanksgiving spread
My trick for getting flavor into the bird is butter. I know people say brine, and while we’ve done that for turkeys before, it yields an awfully salty gravy, but a chicken done right isn’t in as much risk to drying out. Here’s my easy bird that comes out moist and loaded with flavor:
- Make a herb butter: room temp butter mixed with chopped sage, rosemary, thyme (or whatever you have on hand) salt & pepper
- Run your fingers between the meat and the skin, separating both and making easier work of the next step
- Put the butter between the skin and the meat – shove it in there and smooth it out. Even put it on the top of the legs
- Place thinly sliced lemon, garlic and a whole sage leaf under the skin as well
- Chop an onion and the rest of the lemon and place in the cavity of the bird
- Tuck under the wings and tie the legs together
- Roast at 350 for about 30 min/lb until the juices run clear from a cut above the thigh
- Let it rest! 15 min or so until you carve, you want all the juices to soak back into the meat.
And that’s it, folks, easy peasy. I wish I’d taken some more photos for you, but my hands were a little involved with all this butter stuffing and chicken dealing. But I just can’t stress enough how tasty it came out. It’s also amazing how many people it will feed. We were a party of 6 and stuffed to the brim, and I ate it for the rest of the week: on toast, in sandwiches, mixed with mushrooms and broccoli in pasta. The possibilities are endless.
the post chicken day fare: toast + brie + chicken + hot gravy = AMAZING melted, savory & crisp