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Roasted Chicken and Broth


My life changed when I learned I could roast a whole chicken myself and that it's actually really easy!

First, you have to prep the bird. Get a nice organic farm-raised yadda whatever whole chicken. Make sure you let it come to about room temp if using frozen. Get a baking tray out (I still use a cookie cooling rack on top of a baking sheet--whatever, it works and I don't use the rack for cookies anyway!). Preheat the oven to 425.

This next step is optional but it can add a lot of flavor to the broth: Chop a bunch of carrots, celery, parsley, and onions, add a few unpeeled garlic cloves, and cover the bottom of the tray pretty densely. Don't throw anything out! Keep the skins of the onion and garlic, knobs of carrots, and leafs of celery. You are making soup out of the vegetables, not eating them, so don't worry about it. Leave about a handful of the veggies aside.

Season the chicken however you like. I just do salt and pepper, and some herbs like oregano or thyme, and lots of lemon juice. Stuff the remaining handful of veggies into the cavity along with the rest of the lemon.

Put the chicken into the oven and reduce the heat to 400. A small-medium chicken usually takes 2.5 hours but the time will depend on the size of the bird. If you need more precise help with the whole chicken roasting thing, head over to my boy Jamie Oliver:

When the chicken is all roasted (it should be looking real crispy on the outside) pull it out of the oven and let cool for a bit. Snack on the chicken wings and drumsticks, but DON'T THROW AWAY THE BONES! DON'T THROW ANYTHING AWAY!

Get a giant pot of water cooking, as large as you can find. If you have it, a two-piece multi pot is best because it saves the work of straining later.

As you are munching on your chicken wings, throw the bones, excess skin, cartilage, and all the other gross things into the water. Carve the rest of the meat off the chicken and save for later for whatever.

Here is a great tutorial on how to carve a chicken (well this is for a turkey but it's the same thing):

Throw all carcass components into the water and add a whole bunch of salt.

Listen carefully. All that oily fat that's dripped from the chicken into the veggie pan is your GOLD. That's the flavor of the broth. Do not waste a single drop. The veggies should be nice and charred. Scrape all the veggies and the fat into the pot. Every single last droplet.

Now you are ready for the broth. Bring the liquid and all the nasty carcass pieces nearly to a boil, then bring the heat way down. In my house, it's tradition to let the broth simmer overnight, as the magic happens in the wee hours. Around 1am, I am usually awakened by an incredible fragrance. But if you can't do this overnight, just let it simmer as long as possible.

If you used a multi pot, just pull the inner part out and discard all the stuff. You are left with a deeply rich and flavorful broth. My version is darker than normal because of the charred vegetables. Freeze or use as you please!

Note: DO NOT buy cheap freezer bags! I learned the hard way through an extremely unpleasant experience which left me with gallons of oily chicken broth all over my kitchen floor at 6am as I was trying to get out the door to teach a class.


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