>I feel compelled to tell you that my first final EVER in culinary school (before I added “drop out” to those words, natch) was roast chicken.
We drew our final meals out of a hat, and I got super lucky. What could be easier than Roast Chicken, right? It is still one of my favorite easy “wow” meals to make for guests.
I got a B. Some day I will tell you the story of why, but now is not that time.
Roasting a whole chicken is easy peasey and perfect for a family or a dinner party, but kind of “too much” for just me and The Hub on a Sunday evening, so I improvise a smaller version using b/s chicken breast and veggies (in this case I used just ONE of those freakishly giant chicken breasts I had in the freezer – but two normal sized b/s breasts would be great.)
To start, I mix 1/2 teaspoon Thyme, 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt into 1/4 cup flour and 2 teaspoons corn starch (corn starch really REALLY helps things get good color in the pan, trust me):
Then I coat the chicken breast, which I have cut into chunks that are two or three bites each, in the mixture:
I heat a NON COATED (non-stick pans just don’t brown as well, sorry) pan coated in cooking spray over medium heat on the stove until I can feel the heat when I hold my hand open about 1/2 inch over the pan’s cooking surface, and I brown all sides of the chicken giving it plenty of room for each piece – do two batches if needed:
I just brown each side, I don’t cook through. Then I lay the chicken on top of some small diced potatoes and carrots sprayed with cooking spray in a roasting pan, and pop them into the oven to cook at 375 degrees for 25-35 minutes, until the veggies reach desired tenderness (the chicken holds moisture since you browned it, locking in the juices, so you are ok to do this.
While that is cooking, I drain the fat out of the pan I browned the chicken in, add 1 tablespoon of Olivo (since The Hub has that high cholesterol situation) and melt it down… then I add 1 tablespoon (same amount as the fat, or fake fat in this case, notice the proportion for a roux folks,) of flour to the melted Olivo and whisk it together to form a sort of Roux (because I can now, m’kay?)
It looks a little different than a normal Roux, shiny and almost broken like this:
It is ok, it will still work. Cook that out for 2 minutes or so over medium heat stirring it so it loses the weird flour flavor and starts to loosen the pan crud left from the chicken and then pour in 1 cup liquid (I used water mixed with just a scant 1/8 teaspoon of chicken bullion sprinkles) into the pan and really scrape with a metal utensil to lift the chicken bits and incorporate the Roux.. stir and stir over the heat until it looks like this:
Then, if you are my family, you are done… if you are married to a picky guy like The Hub, strain to take out the bits that came up from the pan, like this:
Then, when the veggies are tender, pull everything out of the oven:
Assemble on a plate by making a pile of the veggies, placing some chicken pieces on top, and ladling the pan gravy over the top of the chicken so it drips down onto the veggies, like the pic at the top of the post. Oh. Yeah.