About a month ago, Ben and I took a chicken butchery class at Bleu Ribbon Kitchen, which is offered by Le Cordon Bleu. I had been wanting to try one of these classes for a while to better understand fundamentals, so when a Travelzoo deal came up, I thought it would be neat to share the experience with Ben. And actually, Groupon is currently running a similar deal here. Cooking classes can either be hit or miss — this one was definitely a hit! We each got three chickens to practice on – one to roast whole and two to practice fabricating (fancy word to describe cutting up). And whatever we didn’t end up cooking/eating, we got to take home. Our freezer is full of chicken right now.
We learned interesting tidbits like how you should always cook chicken with the skin intact because the skin helps keep the moisture in the meat. If you don’t want to eat the skin (which isn’t an issue in our house), take it off after the chicken is cooked, not before. We also learned how to render chicken fat. Haven’t yet tried it yet, but it’s on my list of things to try out once I accumulate enough fat bits. And on that note…
Here are a few pictures from the day and the recipe for both the herb roasted chicken and gravy we made.
Someone didn’t tuck the wing tips underneath the bird.
If you can believe it, this was better than the rotisserie chickens you can buy from the grocery score. I love dark meat, but even the white meat was so juicy and flavorful.
Roasted Chicken and Gravy
- 1 medium-to-large roasting chicken, room temperature
- 3 cloves garlic
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 5 sprigs fresh sage
- 1 lemon
- 1 medium onion, chopped into large pieces
- 1 large carrot, chopped into large pieces
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1.5-2 cups chicken stock or broth
Pat the cavity and surface of the chicken dry with a paper towel. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the cavity of the bird, making sure no seeds get in. Generously sprinkle salt and pepper in the cavity of the bird. Place the squeezed lemon halves into the cavity of the bird. Stuff the cavity of the bird with the garlic and fresh herbs. Truss the bird to prepare it for roasting with twine. Tuck the wing tips underneath the bird to secure them. Generously sprinkle salt and pepper around the outside of the bird.
Heat up an ovenproof pan over high heat, coating the bottom with a generous amount of oil. Brown each side of the chicken, starting with the breast side down. Add the onions, carrots, and celery to the bottom of the pan and place the chicken on top, breast side up.
Place the pan in an oven at 375 degrees for at least one hour (longer, depending on the size of the chicken) or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Make sure the thermometer isn’t touching any bones. Let the chicken rest in a pan for at least 15 minutes before cutting into it.
While the chicken is resting, prepare the pan gravy. Pour the excess fat out from the roasting pan, leaving only the vegetables behind. Place the roasting pan over medium heat and sprinkle flour over the vegetables and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock or broth (0.5 cups at a time) and any juices the resting chicken had into the pan and whisk to incorporate everything. Keep adding chicken stock until the gravy is to your desired consistency, should take around 5-7 minutes. Pour gravy through a fine mesh sieve and discard any solids.