Winter weather got you down? Tired of your frozen pipes and drains? Afraid to leave your house for fear you'll get the car stuck in the alley behind your house? Tired of slipping and sliding down unplowed city side streets? Tired of slogging through a foot of snow covering the sidewalk, tripping and lurching to the bus stop in sub-zero temperatures to wait 35 minutes for a bus that never comes? Already living in fear of opening next month's gas bill? You need some comfort, don't you?
You look like you could use some schmaltz, dearie.
I'm not quite sure what it is about the humble chicken, but for those of us Midwesterners, there are few things as comforting as chicken in its many forms - fried, made into soup with noodles, topped with dumplings, or simply roasted and placed on some potatoes. Well, for this Midwesterner, anyway. I'm not saying this recipe is a dieter's dream, but it will certainly soothe your winter-weary soul. Don't mess around with cheap, miserable chickens. For fifty cents extra a pound, you can get a delicious Amish chicken, like this one I bought from Weiland's. You might notice the lack of vegetables on the plate. This dinner is all about comfort, remember? I don't really find steamed veggies very comforting, although I do love them. In truth, this dinner lends itself to a nice refreshing dish of fruit after, so you don't have to feel guilty about skipping the veg.
Perfectly Simple and Delicious Roasted Chicken - serves 2
1 2 1/2 - 3 pound fryer, preferably a good free-range bird
Preheat oven to 475. Remember that the perfect roasted chicken needs nothing more than salt and pepper. Dry the skin thoroughly with paper towels. Remove any giblets from inside, fry and serve to your cats or do whatever you wish with them. Sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper (liberally). Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat (I like to use an ovenproof nonstick skillet for ease of cleanup. It's winter, remember? We're in lazy mode) and add the chicken, breast side up. Place in oven and roast 20 minutes. Carefully turn the bird over and roast for another 20 minutes. Turn over again and return to oven for 10 minutes. The chicken is done when the juices from the cavity run clear. Remove the chicken to a cutting board to rest (I don't tent because I love crisp chicken skin). Place the skillet, with all juices and fat still in, on the stovetop, and commence with the potatoes.
Schmaltzy Potatoes - serves 2
Scrub 20 very small Yukon Gold potatoes and place them, whole, skin on, into a large pot filled with boiling salted water. Boil about 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Drain and set aside whilst the chicken finishes. When the potatoes have cooled slightly, cut each in half. Place your skillet full of chicken juices over high heat and add the potatoes - be careful! There might be splattering! Toss the potatoes in the chicken fat and juices until they are lightly browned, and then remove them to plates with a slotted spoon. Sprinkle with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Top with chicken and consume, feeling your bones thaw and your heart warm.
It worked for me, anyway.