Tag Archives: feed a crowd

Citrus-Herb Roasted Chicken

When I was a kid, every once in a while we’d pick up a bucket of chicken for dinner.  This was a real treat.  I liked the chicken and LOVED the mashed potatoes that always accompanied it.  I’m not such a fan anymore.  It’s been this way for a number of years, ever since that fateful day as a teen when I dived into the bucket for my favorite piece – the drumstick – and came away with a drumstick…and a gnarly, extra crispy chicken foot still attached.  Yikes.

These days, I would probably be less squeamish about the foot, but more so about the quality of the food and the unhealthy way it’s cooked at most fast food places.  Besides, I always felt shorted on the drumstick front.  A whole bucket of chicken and most of it not what I wanted.  It makes so much more sense to cook it myself.  I like to buy the “family pack” of chicken legs and cook that whole sucker up all at once.  It usually makes enough for 2-3 meals for my little family, or it’s great if you’re feeding a crowd.

This is an easy recipe and it turned out so pretty!  I recommend marinating the chicken for a few hours (or all day) but you don’t have to if you don’t have time.  I wanted the texture to be similar to a roasted chicken so I packed them all together in a roasting dish.  For quicker cook times and more crispy chicken, you can lay them out on a baking sheet instead.  But this made for a pretty presentation and the chicken was melt-in-your-mouth tender.

Citrus-Herb Roasted Chicken.  So yummy!

Citrus-Herb Roasted Chicken. So yummy!

Citrus-Herb Roasted Chicken
(slightly adapted from thecomfortofcooking.com)

1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
2 whole lemons, one juiced and zested, and one sliced
2 whole oranges, one juiced and zested, and one sliced
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
12-20 pieces chicken drumsticks (and/or thighs)
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried or fresh thyme
1 tablespoon dried or fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, garlic, sugar, lemon juice and zest, orange juice and zest, Italian seasoning, paprika, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Add marinade to a large plastic bag or baking dish (I prefer to use a plastic bag for marinated since it’s easy to rotate and get the marinade on all the parts equally.  I set the bag inside a baking dish just in case it leaks).

Place chicken in a large casserole dish.  Since my pan was the deeper sort, I placed my chicken so the small ends were down in the bottom and the larger ends poked up (think chicken leg bouquet). Place parts skin side up and spread them out evenly in the pan. Pour marinade all over chicken, turning pieces to coat all sides. Arrange slices of lemon, orange and onion around and under the chicken. Sprinkle all over generously with thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.

All ready to pop in the oven.

All ready to pop in the oven.

Bake uncovered for about 1 hour – hour & 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked and juices run clear. (If you use breasts for this recipe, the cooking time should only be around 40 minutes). Remove to a serving platter and garnish with additional chopped fresh herbs, if desired.

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Herb Roasted Turkey

When I lived in the middle of the country, far away from my family, I cooked Thanksgiving dinner most years for my own little family and in-laws.  And although many people complain about such a task, I always loved it.  I enjoyed having people enjoying my food, and of course when you’re the cook, you get all your favorite dishes. 🙂  Now, I’m back in the Pacific Northwest, surrounded by family and thrilled to be here.  But since Thanksgiving is no longer at my house, I’ve found that I rarely cook turkey.  Which is a shame, because it’s pretty darn good.  And it’s not just for Thanksgiving.

I had a turkey in my freezer that I bought around Thanksgiving when it was on sale.  I decided there was nothing wrong with eating turkey in springtime so I roasted that sucker the other day.  The rest of the meal did not resemble Thanksgiving, since eating like that should definitely be limited to once a year.  But this is pretty much how I cook turkey for any occasion.  What leftovers don’t end up on a sandwich the next day get packed in ziplock bags in my freezer to be used in soups, pot pies and whatever else.

Everybody has their favorite method for cooking turkey.  Some brine, some smoke, some deep fry.  I am a huge fan of roasting bags.  They reduce the cooking time and always yield a perfectly roasted, juicy turkey.  Plus they make clean up a snap.

Herb-Roasted Turkey

Herb Roasted Turkey

Herb Roasted Turkey

1 whole turkey
1/2 stick butter, softened
2 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tbsp. fresh rosemary
2-3 tbsp. fresh sage
2-3 tbsp. fresh thyme
Salt & pepper
Roasting bag – turkey size
1 tsp. flour

Preheat oven to 350˚.  Finely chop all herbs.  In a small bowl mash together the butter, olive oil, and chopped herbs, along with a pinch of salt & pepper.  Set aside.

Butter & herb mixture.

Butter & herb mixture.

Get out a turkey size cooking bag (I use the Reynolds bags) and lay it in a large roasting pan.  The directions on the bag say to add a spoonful of flour to the bag so I always do, although I’m not sure if it’s actually necessary.  I figure it just contributes to the good gravy in the end.  If you’re gluten-free you can probably skip it or use gluten-free flour.  Place the turkey in the bag.  Using your hands, loosen the skin over the breast and drumsticks, wherever you can reach.  Be gentle, and try not to tear the skin.  Rub the butter and herb mixture under the skin and all over the outside of the turkey as well.  I usually add another few grinds of salt & pepper on the outside as well.

Don't be shy, get that butter and herb mixture all over under and over the skin for maximum flavor.

Don’t be shy, get that butter and herb mixture all over under and over the skin for maximum flavor.

Seal bag and tuck end down into the pan.  Cut a couple of small slits in the bag so steam can escape.  Cook according to the bag instructions.  For my turkey (14 pounds, unstuffed), this meant 2 – 2 1/2 hours, until a meat thermometer in the thigh hits 180˚.  Then take it out and let it rest at least 20 minutes.  This is an important step, do not skip it!  Letting the turkey rest will result in a more juicy bird.  I use this time to make gravy, mash the potatoes, make the salad, etc.

To make gravy, cut off one corner of the cooking bag and drain turkey juice into a saucepan.  Mix up a bit of water or milk with a few tablespoons of cornstarch.  Bring liquid to a boil, then whisk in cornstarch mixture.  Taste and add salt & pepper if needed.  Serve with turkey (and mashed potatoes of course!).

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