Thereâ€™s something you need to know about me: For YEARS I avoided whole chickens. Honestly, I avoided pretty much any meat with bones. If it wasnâ€™t boneless chicken breasts or boneless pork chops or ground meat, I wasnâ€™t buying or cooking it.
Iâ€™m not sure why. I guess I was scared of not cooking it correctly. I thought it was time consuming. I thought it was, well, too much work.
Well let me tell you.. this meal was a CINCH!
Roasting took some time but itâ€™s passive. Once you put everything in the oven you are pretty much hands off except for a quick toss mid-way through.
And boy was it a crowd pleaser! All three boys devoured this meal. Even Little Bean!
Who, after his first bite of chicken kept asking for more.
He liked when I plucked it right off the thigh for him, and he ate the WHOLE darn thing!!
The Husband had not one complaint, eating in silence as he always does when he likes a meal, and Ryan enjoyed a leg and the other thigh.
I couldnâ€™t have been more ecstatic.
Let me tell you how I made it and then share 2 other ideas using the bones to make soup and the leftover potatoes for breakfast. This idea is going into regular rotation at my house!
Hereâ€™s what I did…
- 1 large sweet potato cut into about 1 inch cubes
- 1 large baking potato cut into cubes slightly smaller than the sweet potato
- 2 apples cut into chunks slightly larger than the sweet potato + the cores
- 1 tsp ground sage + more for sprinkling
- 1 tsp thyme + more for sprinkling
- 1 tsp rosemary + more for sprinkling
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Kosher Salt
- 1 4-5 lb chicken
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Toss the potatoes, apples, sage, thyme, rosemary, vinegar, and salt in the roasting pan.
Remove any gizzards and organs from the chickenâ€™s cavity and set aside. Weâ€™ll use later for soup! :)
Rinse the chicken and lay in the roasting pan on top of the potatoes pushing some aside so itâ€™s flat in the pan. We need to cover it later.
Stuff the apple cores into the chicken.
Sprinkle the chicken with salt, sage, rosemary and thyme.
Cover and place in the preheated oven for 1 and half hours. Thereâ€™s no need to check on it.
If you donâ€™t have a cover, aluminum foil should work.
After the 1.5 hours, remove the cover, toss the potatoes, and raise the temperature to 425 degrees.
Roast for an additional 30-45 minutes until the temperature of chicken is 165 degrees, skin is golden brown, and juices run clear when pierced. My bird was 4.89 pounds and took the whole 45 minutes.
I served the chicken alongside the potatoes and apples plus some fresh roasted asparagus.
It was an AMAZING meal! (Sorry for my picture quality getting worse through the post. I ran out of sunlight. :)
Now, on to my 2 additional ideas using this meal…
The biggest benefit of buying and cooking a whole chicken is the soup. Itâ€™s so simple and so tasty youâ€™ll want to start to make a chicken a week because really, the soup has endless possibilities and itâ€™s cheaper, healthier, and tastier than anything you can get in a can.
After dinner I put the bones with any and all chicken left on it in a stock pot with…
- enough water to cover the bones
- gizzards, liver and other organs found in the cavity
- a quartered onion with skin (it adds flavor and color!)
- 2 celery hearts or a couple of stalks
- 2-3 carrots
- 1 head of garlic halved with skin
- 1 1/2 tbsp of kosher salt
- About 1 tsp rosemary
- About 1 tsp thyme
- About 1 tsp ground sage
- About 1 tsp whole peppercorns
- About 1 tsp tumeric (great color)
- About 1/2 tsp whole cloves
Honestly, every time I make it, itâ€™s a little different but these are my base ingredients to make a rich, deep, broth.
I bring everything to a boil and then simmer overnight in the stock pot. The next morning I strain the broth.
This batch came out super dark!
Once itâ€™s drained put the broth in the fridge until you are ready to use or separate into smaller containers and freeze.
Pluck through the solids from the pot and remove any chicken for your soup.
This morning I used the broth I made and made a quick soup by adding,
- the plucked chicken
- spinach (small box of frozen)
- 1/2 cup dry steel cut oats, and
- 1/2 cup whole grain alphabet pasta (Just found this at the store!!)
to the broth, bringing to a boil and then simmering for about 30 minutes until I was ready to eat.
The result is YUMMY! and perfect for this super cold weather weâ€™ve been having.
Iâ€™ll be eating this all week and tonight we are have soup and sandwich for dinner so that one chicken was good for 2 family meals!
2. Leftover Potato Hash
My second idea using the leftovers was for breakfast. I had some potatoes left and decided to use them for a quick hash.
Basically I added all the leftover sweet and white potatoes (-minus any apple) and warmed them in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Then I added some chopped fresh spinach and an egg. Toss and cook until the egg cooked to your liking.
Bam! Leftover potato hash! It was delicious with just a bit of ketchup. :)
So there you have it. One big meal with a couple of ideas for leftovers. Like I said, I feared the whole chicken for so long but it really gives you a great meal plus! If you havenâ€™t taken the leap yet, do it!
The more you cook the better you get at it. Iâ€™ve poked and prodded my share of chickens and every time I cook one it gets easier and easier. I have a lot less fear of it not being done or too dry.
No nutritional information for this one. Itâ€™s just too complicated to figure out the number of servings. That being said I don’t worry about meals like this. I prepared chicken, potatoes, and apples. Itâ€™s all good stuff!!