Oven-Roasted Chicken with Carrots and Cremini Mushrooms


Roast Chicken with Carrots and Cremini Mushrooms | Culinary Compost Recipes

Tie the drumsticks together with some butcher twine so the chicken retains moisture. You can also fold the wings under the bird so they don’t dry out. Roast breast side up on an elevated wire rack, uncovered.

This is a savory recipe that takes little time to prepare — the result may very well be the most super-juicy and aromatic chicken you’ve ever enjoyed.  My wife is not fond of rosemary, so I had to cut back on the amount of fresh aromatics used to stuff the bird.  Ensure you have an accurate poultry thermometer. I use an instant-read Weber® digital probe. It’s quick and easy.  For consistent results, I always check the internal temp of the breast because it has more mass than the thighs and will take longer to cook.  Allow the bird to rest before serving so it stays juicy.  Enjoy—

 

Ingredients:

1 whole fryer chicken (about 5.5 to 6 pounds)
5 tbs. Trader Joe’s lemon-infused XV olive oil
Mike’s Backwoods Holler spice rub

1/2 lemon, sliced
2 tbs. salted butter
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely-chopped
1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
1 small bunch of fresh poultry spice (includes stems of sage, rosemary, thyme)

3 large carrots, peeled, quartered and cut into 1/2″ planks
6 medium Cremini mushrooms, washed, stemmed and halved
1 cup chicken stock

butcher twine for tying the drumsticks

 

Directions:

About 3.5 hours before serving, rinse the chicken and inner cavity in cold water. Discard the giblets from the cavity. Pat dry and place on a serving plate.
Brush down the entire chicken with 5 tbs. olive oil. Next, generously sprinkle the spice rub over the bird, ensuring all surfaces are evenly covered, including the inner fold of the wings and drumsticks. Leave on counter for one hour so the bird has a chance to warm up.  I don’t need to remind you to religiously clean all prep surfaces with disinfectant to avoid spreading salmonella bacteria. WASH YOUR HANDS with hot soapy water.

Preheat oven to 425° F.  About 2.5 hours before serving, stuff the cavity of the bird with the lemon slices, chopped onion, garlic, butter and poultry spice. The poultry spice is quite aromatic so watch how much you use. Carefully tie the drumsticks together using butcher twine. Place the bird in a medium roaster pan with a wire rack on the bottom. Layer the carrots and mushrooms around the bird and add 1 cup chicken stock to the pan.

Bake uncovered at 425° for 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 375° and bake for an additional 110 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast reads 165° F.

Remove and set aside covered for ten minutes before serving, which will allow the juices to reincorporate.

Serves 4.

 

Notes:
General cooking time for roast chicken is 20 minutes per pound. Shown is a 5.5 pound bird. Therefore, total cook time for a bird of this weight is 110 minutes. You will need to ADD 15 minutes, on average, if the bird is stuffed. The initial increased temp of 425° makes little difference in the end time result.  My calculation was pretty accurate: 125 total minutes / 60 = 2.08 hours + a 10 minute rest before serving. Your results will vary so experiment and have fun.

Adding the carrots and Cremini mushrooms is optional. There are two drawbacks if going this route.
1. The vegetables will be saturated in the chicken fat drippings. To retain the flavor and eliminate the fat, strain the vegetables from the pan and allow to blot dry on a paper towel. Then keep warm in a covered serving dish.
2. The mushrooms will tend to shrink a lot, so either half them or leave them whole.

One disadvantage of tying the legs together is that you can’t do the twist test to check for doneness. Go by the internal temperature of the breast — as a cross-check, pierce the inner thigh with a paring knife. The juices will run clear when the bird is done.

 

Save the leftover chicken for homemade soup. Click here for my recipe.
Save the drippings (skim off the fat) and use for stock or gravy.

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Grilled Italian Sausage with Marinara Sauce over Penne Pasta


Grilled Italian sausage with marinara sauce over penne pasta

Who’s up for making a made-from-scratch marinara sauce with fresh summer garden herbs?  Sounds like a lot of work?  It’s easier than you think.
This is a classic spicy red sauce prepared in the old world Italian tradition. We’ll serve it with grilled Italian sausage and Cremini mushrooms over a bed of penne pasta.

The sausage takes center stage — made locally in Johnsonville, a town in Eastern Wisconsin (their brats are legendary!)  Many large retail grocers will carry it.

My family loves this recipe. I’m trusting yours will too.

For another version of homemade marinara using garden tomatoes, click here.


Ingredients:

1 package Johnsonville® mild Italian sausage (5 links)
2 28-oz. cans Red Gold® tomatoes (one crushed and one diced)
4 large cloves fresh garlic; peeled and minced
6 large Cremini mushrooms; washed, stemmed and sliced
1 small onion; peeled and sliced lengthwise into 1/4″ strips
1/2 cup fresh Italian oregano leaves; minced
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves; minced
1 green bell pepper; cored and sliced
1 red bell pepper; cored and sliced
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. beef boullion granules
Sea salt, to taste
Hot red pepper flakes, to taste
1 pound penne pasta, cooked al dente according to package directions (about 11-12 minutes)
XV olive oil
Grated fresh hard Parmesan cheese

 

Directions:

Preheat an outdoor charcoal grill with enough coals for a medium-hot fire. Mound the briquettes and fire until white hot; about twenty minutes. Cook the sausage links covered over indirect heat with the top vent partially choked down.
Turn every 5 minutes until firm and evenly browned. Remove and set aside.

In a 3-quart heavy enameled cast-iron sauce pot, heat 1/4 cup XV olive oil until shimmering, then add the minced garlic. Stir constantly so the garlic doesn’t burn. Cook for three minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for an additional three minutes, then add the sliced onion and a pinch of sea salt. Cook until the onions are tender and translucent. Add the two cans of tomatoes, the oregano and basil and stir. Add the sugar, red pepper flakes and beef boullion. Simmer on low, partially covered, stirring occasionally for at least two hours. You cannot rush a good marinara sauce! After the first hour, add the sliced red and green bell pepper. Cut the Italian sausage at a bias in 1/2″ chunks and add to the pot. The sauce can be left to simmer for at least six hours with great results. Just make sure to keep the heat at an absolute minimum.

Boil 3 quarts of water in a separate stock pot. Add 1 tsp. of sea salt. Cook the penne pasta until just al dente. Drain well and serve with the sauce, topped with shredded hard Parmesan cheese.

Serves six comfortably
Total cooking/prep time: 4-6 hours

fresh garden basil blossoms

Fresh basil with flowering blossoms

 

Stir-Fry Carrots with Shiitake Mushrooms and Scallion


This is a simple, healthy and quick vegetable side dish that compliments a variety of main-course meals. Be sure to add the scallion only at the last minute or two so it doesn’t wilt too much.

Ingredients:

5 large carrots, peeled, cut into thirds and then cut into matchsticks
4 stalks scallion, roots trimmed, cut into thirds and then matchsticks
2 large shiitake mushrooms, washed, stems removed and sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1″ chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 tbs. brown sugar
1 tbs. rice vinegar
2 tbs. soy sauce
Dash of sesame oil

1 tbs. peanut oil for frying

Directions:

Prepare the vegetables and pat dry, so the stir-fry will be crisp and not soggy. Allow to warm up to room temperature. Mix the soy sauce, brown sugar and rice vinegar in a small bowl and set aside. Mince the garlic and ginger in a food processor and set aside.

Heat a wok until it just smokes over high heat – a drop of water should vaporize within one second when ready. Add the peanut oil to the sides of the wok and swirl to coat the surface. Add the garlic and ginger and quickly stir-fry for about ten seconds, until aromatic. Immediately add the carrot and mushrooms and stir-fry until lightly seared, about two to three minutes.

Add the soy-vinegar-sugar mixture and stir to incorporate. Reduce for one minute. Add the scallion and sesame oil and stir until just heated through.  Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Serves 2-4

Super Beans


This is an easy-to-prepare classic side dish that my family has made for many years.

Ingredients:

3 cans (14.75 oz. each) cut green beans, drained
1 14.75 oz. can mushrooms (stems and pieces), drain 1/2 liquid off
1 small onion, chopped
4-6 strips bacon, cut into 1/4″ cubes
1 tbs. white vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook the bacon until lightly browned and drain off rendered fat. Add the onion and saute until lightly carmelized.

Add the mushrooms, green beans and salt/pepper to taste after adding each can. (My dad insists that it tastes better this way.)
Add one tbs. vinegar and stir to incorporate. Place in a heavy saucepan or baking dish and cover. Cook on low for about 1 hour until the green beans are just tender.

Serves: 4-6

Wild Rice & Mushrooms


I was messing around one afternoon and came up with this recipe. The perfect side with a pork roast.

Ingredients:

2 cups long grain wild rice
4-1/2 cups beef stock
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms (any kind)
1 clove mashed garlic
3-4 scallions, washed and chopped – with greens
1 tbs. fresh parsley, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

In a 2.5 quart dutch oven, bring the beef stock to a boil. Add the rice, reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, covered.

While the rice is cooking, in a heavy skillet saute the mushrooms and garlic in a bit of olive oil. Add the chopped scallion. Sautee until just tender. Do not overcook.

Combine the mushrooms, scallion and garlic with the rice, heat through covered for another ten minutes and serve.

Serves 4.