Monday, February 20, 2012

Roast Chicken with Carrots, Peas and Brown Rice

This is a pretty typical dinner for us. You can of course substitute peas for broccoli or some other green vegetable, and brown rice for white rice, cous cous or quinoa.

You will need:

A whole chicken (we like free range)
4 carrots, chopped into large pieces
2-3 cloves of garlic
olive oil

2-3 cups* of frozen peas
1-2 cups* of brown rice

an oven dish
a meat thermometer
aluminum foil
2 to 4 quart pot with lid
optional: a rice cooker

This recipe will take about two hours.

Serves 3-4 people.

Preheat oven to 420 degrees F.

Prepare the baking dish as you prefer: I use some cooking spray to make it easier to clean later (although I don't spray far up the side or the spray can bake on and spot the dish). Put the chopped carrots in the dish first, spreading them out evenly. Make sure the chicken has nothing in the cavity, like the neck or livers. Put about a tablespoon of salt inside the cavity--a little more if you like salt. Put the garlic cloves in the cavity. Place the chicken on top of the carrots. drizzle olive oil over the chicken. You can rub it across the chicken with your fingers if you want--I tend to skip this step. Salt the outside of the chicken lightly. Pour about a quarter to a half a cup of water in the bottom of the dish--this keeps the carrots from blackening. Tear off a large sheet of aluminum foil, enough to cover the bird completely. Stick a meat thermometer though the foil in the area that will cover the chicken breast. Poke the thermometer in the thickest part of the breast. Finish putting the foil over so it covers the bird and clings to the sides of the baking dish. Put it in the oven and set a timer for 90 minutes.

When the timer goes off, check your meat thermometer. It should be in the 160 degree range. If it isn't, put the chicken back in until it is (check every 10 minutes). Remove the aluminum foil. Put the chicken back in to brown, setting the timer for 20 minutes.

Time to cook the rice. I use a rice cooker, but you can also follow the directions on the package. One tip I've read for cooking rice to the right consistency without a rice cooker is to put in a lot of water, basically treating it like pasta, and to drain it out once the rice is done.

When the chicken's timer goes off, check the meat thermometer. It should be at least 180. If not, you will have to add more time. If it is, set the timer for 10 more minutes.

Put the peas in the pot with about a half a cup of water. Cover and heat over high until it boils, then lower heat to medium-low.

If you are using a rice cooker, you can use it instead of the last timer--when the rice is done, the rest usually is too. Use your best judgment.

Once the rice is done or your timer has gone off, turn off the peas and remove the chicken from the oven. Let the chicken sit while you dish out the rice and peas. Then carve the chicken. Once you've served some pieces of chicken you should be able to spoon out carrots and chicken juices onto the rice.


*Depends on the number of people you're feeding.

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