Please note: This is not a pic of ‘Helen’s Best Chicken.’ I needed a giggle and put this one up instead.
I have absolutely no idea who this Helen is, but I have to say her roast chicken is pretty darn good. I really would like to know more about Helen. Perhaps she and I could become pen pals. Do people even do that anymore? Become pen pals? Probably they just do it via email rather than old school snail mail. I’m really not that old and yet I remember how exciting it was to go to the mailbox and find a letter or card addressed just especially to me. Do people get all giddy and excited about emails or facebook posts? I digress and I’m showing my age. Bygones.
It Involves a Massage
This is is more than just any old roast chicken, besides being ‘Helen’s Best’ it involves massaging a combo of butter, dijon, honey, dried thyme and parsley and onion powder under the skin. If the idea of putting your hands under the skin of a chicken squeems you out, just suck it up and do it anyways. This is one step you can not skip. Or have a glass of wine and pretend you’re Julia Child (including the voice) and talk your way through it. I know you can do this. Also, ‘Helen’s Best Chicken’ involves a gravy. You don’t have to make the gravy, but you would be very sad if you didn’t because it’s that good. Yes it involves drippings, fat, whatever, but it’s not like you’re going to drink a wine glass full of gravy.
Flaming Ball of Chicken – Recovery
I am so over my fear of chicken. Although I have to admit it took some time after the incident involving the flaming ball of chicken on the grill. I’m also still a bit afraid of somehow undercooking it. I figure if the Top Chef ‘cheftestants’ who are bona fide chefs can serve Tom Colicchio and Padma raw chicken who’s to say I’m any better? Because in this case I am. Seriously. The one thing you don’t serve raw is chicken because not only is it disgusting, but it can make you very, very sick. Like who doesn’t know that? Isn’t that one of the first things you learn in culinary school. Actually it’s one of those things everyone should just know. DON’T eat undercooked chicken!!!
Unless you’re having guests or have a large family you will have leftovers. Make enchiladas. Soup. Chicken salad. You’ll definitely get a couple of meals out of this one chicken.
Do not let the list of ingredients alarm you.
- 1 chicken (4-5 lb)
- 1 head garlic- halved horizontally
- 1 lemon
- 2 yellow onions, sliced into thick rings
- 6 button mushrooms, quartered
- 1/2-1cup white wine (more is always better)
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened (yes 4)
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1-2 teaspoon flour
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bring chicken to room temperature. Mix together butter, dijon, honey, dried thyme and parsley, and onion powder.
- Use one hand to separate the skin of the chicken from the flesh, and use the other hand to slather this delicious compound between the skin and the flesh. Use as much of it as you can – don’t forget the joints and the drumsticks. Wash your hands, and rub 2 T olive oil into the skin, and aggressively (I’m picturing a very angry Julia Child aggressively seasoning her chicken while drinking wine.) season the skin with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Line bottom of a roasting pan with sliced onion. Scatter mushrooms in there. Juice half a lemon over the vegetables, and throw the lemon half in there too. Place chicken on bed of vegetables, and pour wine in bottom of pan. Roast for 30 minutes breast down. When you go to flip the bird (that made me giggle and snort) so that the breast is up, make sure there’s enough liquid in the bottom of the pan. If it looks like the onions are burning (usually this happens in the corners), add some more wine, or chicken stock, or even water to keep it all moist. After roasting for an additional 30 minutes with the breast up, the skin should be golden and crisp, and the flesh should be cooked and juicy. Remove the chicken from the pan, put on a plate, and tent with foil.
- The internal temperature should be AT LEAST 165 degrees! Remember what I told you…NEVER eat, or for that matter serve an undercooked chicken.
- While the chicken is resting, (all that massaging and roasting took a lot out of the old bird. some cooking terms just make me giggle) put the roasting pan on a burner. Remove the half of lemon. There should be plenty of liquid with browned and softened onions and mushrooms in the bottom of the pan. If there isn’t plenty of liquid, add 1/2 cup water. Sprinkle with the flour, and over a low flame, whisk to make a thick gravy. Try to get any browned bits of chicken juice or caramelized onion from the bottom of the pan. (The best part!) Taste and season as necessary. Serve gravy with sliced chicken.
Enjoy! Until next time…Moose out
Recipe courtesy of the aforementioned Helen and food52