Friday, February 1, 2013

Is It Local? - Roasted Lemon Chicken (aka Colin)

Close-up of the roast chicken.
Sunday dinners are the night when I generally have the most time to prepare a meal. AJ and I have been doing a pretty good job of hitting up the local farmer's market each Sunday, so I always have tons of fresh produce and inspiration to draw on for dinner that night. We have passed by the chicken producer for the past few weeks and finally decided to buy a chicken! If any of you watch Portlandia, I couldn't help but be reminded of the "Is it local?" sketch about eating an organic chicken. We named our chicken "Colin" in honor of Portlandia. Although you may think it odd to name the chicken you are going to eat, it certainly made me appreciate the meal more. Sure, Portlandia goes a bit over-the-top. But after all, if you're going to eat meat, why not embrace the fact that this was once a living creature? 

Getting ready to roast Colin.

"He looks like a happy little guy that runs around." "I don't know if I can speak to that intimate knowledge about him, but they do a lot to make sure they are happy." Portlandia does a great job of pointing out the fallacies of the humanely-raised argument. Does it really matter if you raise a "happy" animal if you are just going to kill it and eat it? It is certainly an interesting argument. I have to say I lean toward supporting it. I feel a lot better about killing an animal that has been raised in a cage-free, "natural" environment than one that is so overweight it can no longer walk. Omnivore's Dilemma and Food, Inc. outline this issue very well. I may have to reread Omnivore's Dilemma!

Blood capillaries, cavity, and all. You can see the lemon.
Stepping off the soap box. Ok, back to Colin. The roast lemon chicken recipe is one my mom passed down to me, and it may be the easiest recipe you've ever made. First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Second, cover the skin with a few teaspoons of oil and season with salt and pepper. Third, prick a lemon with a fork and stick the lemon inside the cavity of the chicken (I used toothpicks to close up the cavity). Lastly, toss sliced onion, potatoes, and carrots in olive oil, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper and put them on the pan next to the chicken. Cook for 1 hour and 40 minutes (or until meat is 160 degrees F). My bird was smaller than your Perdue chicken, so it only took 1 hour or so. I also made sure the temp was 160 F. This makes for a juicy, lemony bird. Thanks Colin!

Homemade honey whole wheat bread!
And because this recipe was so easy I decided why not make my own bread while I'm at it. In retrospect this wasn't the smartest thing to make at the same time, seeing as my kitchen isn't Rachel Ray's. Where is my second oven at? Luckily, the hardest thing about baking bread is the waiting. I had to wait 1 hour and 40 minutes for this bread to rise! I used a simple whole wheat buttermilk recipe and with my kitchen aid dough hook this came together quickly (seriously that dough hook is genius). Fast forward 3 hours later and dinner was ready! Who says no one has time to make dinner...wait... So just make this dinner on Saturday or Sunday when you have a lot of free time. :) 

The bread didn't rise as high as I would have liked, but it was tasty. My coworkers said it tasted better than store bought, so there you go. I froze the second loaf for when I am in need of sandwich bread or something to serve alongside soup.

Dinner is served. Don't those potatoes look tasty?

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