Does roasting a whole chicken ever feel daunting?
Do you worry about potentially undercooking it and having to put the whole lot back in the oven?
Or maybe overcooking it and ruining all that effort?
But a whole roast chicken is also alluring, the whole house smells intoxicating and it’s easier to find free range whole chickens for a good price.
Around here I usually make a whole roast chicken once a week, and then boil the carcass for homemade stock to add to soups and sauces. Often I save the fat to cook with, you could also make gravy if you wanted to go all out.
Chicken fat or schmaltz is really really yummy, it makes everything you cook it in taste amazing. Especially when infused with the red hot spices the chicken was cooked in. The schmaltz from this particular recipe was bright orange from the paprika. To separate the schmaltz from the juices, pour off the liquid and allow to cool in the fridge. When cool the chicken fat will form a layer on top of the now gelatinous chicken juices and you can just scrape that off. The jelly is nutrient dense and you can make gravy with it or add it to stocks.
Making gravy from the pan juices is really simple too and an added bonus to top your chicken with. For paleo gravy I like to thicken with tapioca starch or arrowroot flour, for the drippings from one chicken I typically mix 2 Tbs flour with 2 Tbs cold water. Simmer the chicken drippings/juices on low and stir in the flour until desired thickness is achieved.
Homemade chicken broth is super nourishing and makes everything more delicious. If I cook rice I usually do it in chicken stock and even just drinking it by itself is so satisfying. But our families favourite standby is leftover roast chicken soup, loaded with flavour, packed with veggies and a bit of satisfying rice to top it all off.
So today, in a bid to convince you to make roast chickens part of your kitchen repertoire, I’m going to share with you the recipe for this delicious chicken AND the recipe for the best ever leftover roast chicken soup.
Cooking whole roast chickens doesn’t have to be scary and intimidating. It’s really simple once you have the technique down. There are a million and one variations and ways to flavour your chicken but today I wanted to share with you one of my favourites, red hot roast chicken. This fiery rendition has a bit of smoky sweet and spicy, its also a brilliant golden-red hue, which makes a roast chicken look all the more delectable.
Now here’s are the keys to the perfectly moist, delicious roast chicken every time…
This is the easy chefs way of cooking a whole chicken, there are further steps one could take to get to the next level like brining and trussing but for simplicities sake here’s my take.
– Let your chicken come to room temp. before popping it in the oven.
– Thoroughly dry the skin before adding seasonings, this helps the chicken to get a crispy skin.
– Lay the chicken on a bed of large chunks of sliced onion, this raises it just slightly so the air can circulate underneath and the skin doesn’t stick to the bottom.
– I find cooking the breast side down produces a more moist breast, normally the legs take longer to cook than the breasts and they end up being dry but this way they stay tender.
– Don’t be shy with the spices, we’re only able to season the exterior so make up for that by liberal amounts of good salt, pepper and whatever others herbs and spices you want to add. For a classic roast chicken, stuff the cavity with fresh thyme, a punctured lemon and plenty of garlic and onion.
-The internal temperature of a cooked chicken is 180F at the breast and 190F at the thigh. However, if you are like me and you don’t own a meat thermometer- the chicken is cooked when the juices run clear. Normally I puncture the crevasse at the thigh to check. An average roasting chicken (5-6lbs) will typically take 1 hr 2o minutes at 400F.
– Let it rest. It’s tempting to serve it up as soon as the chicken is out of the oven, but waiting allows the juices to seal and makes for more tender fall off the bone meat. Allow the chicken to rest for 10-15 minutes before digging in.
Red Hot Roast Chicken Spice Blend
1/2 Tbs sea salt
1 Tbs smoked paprika
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
1 tsp red chile flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ancho chile powder (or you can use regular)
Combine all the spices and sprinkle liberally over the whole chicken on all sides. Add fresh garlic, onion to the roasting pan and stuff a punctured lemon into the crevasse of the bird.
And for the best leftover red hot chicken soup
- ½ red onion, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbs schmaltz (chicken fat)
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp ancho chile powder or chipotle
- 1 tsp chile flakes
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp fresh cracked pepper
- 1 large sweet potato, cubed
- 2 large carrots, cubed
- ¾ C white basmati rice
- 8 C homemade chicken stock
- 2 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
- 1 Tbs lime juice
- 2½ C leftover roast chicken, pulled into bite size chunks
- green onions for garnish
- Heat schmaltz in a large pot, add onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent.
- Add spices, salt, sweet potato,carrots and rice, cook for about 2 minutes stirring continuously.
- Add chicken stock, lime leaves,lime juice and chicken and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Serve with fresh green onion and raw cheddar cheese.