Easy Roast Chicken & Homemade Chicken Soup
Easy Roast Chicken
Now that the cooler weather has returned, my favorite foods to cook include roasts--especially pork and chicken roasts--soups, vegetable stews, and Italian and southwestern chilis.
Many people are intimidated by the idea of roasting a chicken. But once you realize how easy the prep work and roasting actually is, you'll be hooked on a weekly roast. Of course, finding a decent roasting chicken is hard. Recently, with the growing appetites of our preteen boys, I've found myself roasting two large fryer chickens, then, if there is time the next day, making a quick vegetable soup with chicken broth based on the carcasses.
Easy Roast Chicken
- 2 whole fryer chickens, 2-3 pounds each
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp Italian herb blend, my favorite is by Morton & Bassett
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- 7 large red potatoes, halved
- Preheat oven for 425 degrees. Spray a roasting pan or large rectangular baker with Pam.
- Optional: I like cooking the chickens over the halved red potatoes. The potatoes soak up the chicken flavor and help create a full mean in one dish. If you want to serve with potatoes, place the potato halves on the bottom of the baking or roasting pan now.
- Place the two rinsed chickens on top of the potatoes. (Remember to check their cavities for any included giblets. If giblets are included, serve raw to your dog, freeze for some other use, or toss) Give the chickens a massage with the olive oil.
- Now, liberally sprinkle the Italian herb seasoning over the chickens. I like a well-covered chicken. Follow up with the black pepper--but be careful here. You don't want to overwhelm the Italian herbs with the black pepper. Finish off with the salt.
- Cover tightly with foil. Cook at 425 degrees for 30 min. Turn heat down to 350, uncover and cook until done. A meat thermometer will read 175-180 degrees (legs and wings will be loose and juices will run clear). Count on about 2 hours.
- Be sure not to drain away the juices. Save the juices and the carcasses for making your easy chicken stock.
Chicken Vegetable Soup from Homemade Chicken Stock
For Your Easy-to-Make Chicken Stock:
Basically, my approach will make any well-trained chef shudder--but this works very well for me, a busy home cook.
Remove any remaining meat from the chicken bones/carcass and set aside.
In a large stockpot, put the bones and carcass. Add water to the level that you want for your vegetable soup, about 4 quarts should do. Bring to a boil. Add about 2 tsps of salt, one or two peeled and quartered onions, one or two peeled cloves of garlic and a handful or two of baby carrots. Once it reaches a boil, turn down to a low simmer and simmer for a couple of hours. Drain through a fine sieve, put the liquid back on the stove and start your soup.
For Your Weeknight Chicken Vegetable Soup:
To your stock, add:
Remaining chicken meat
2-15oz cans of diced tomatoes
1-15oz can crushed tomatoes
2-10oz packages of mixed frozen soup vegetables
2-tsp Italian seasoning--or to taste
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
Salt, to taste
Nearing the end of the simmering time (about an hour or so), I add half a thinly sliced cabbage. This soup is actually great for dieters: low on salt, high on fiber, really low on fat.