When I want to make a hearty meal with minimal effort I use my oven. Here in Manhattan, ovens are often used for extra storage. Not so in the Wonderstated test kitchen! The beauty of roasting something is you can get your meal in the oven and free up your counter space for prepping sides. Roasted chicken is one of our go to meals, and it’s never made the same way twice.
My formula for our family of three is to start with a 4-ish pound organic bird. That give us ample amounts of white meat and two small legs for anyone (Jack!) who likes the dark meat. A bird that size usually cooks in an hour which leaves plenty of time to clean up after the chicken and make some tasty sides. Once the chicken is cooked, let it sit for a bit for the juices to settle, carve and serve.
Cooking is a team sport in our house. I do the bulk of the work but Jack does small tasks and is starting to get more and more into the idea of helping. Michael does the best clean up, which usually coincides with me getting Jack to bed. We are highly choreographed which is a necessity in a small kitchen.
To prep the bird for tonight’s chicken, I’ve created a rub of poultry seasoning, paprika, salt and pepper. I coat the bird in olive oil and rub, being sure to get some under the skin and in the cavity. The inside of the chicken is stuffed with garlic cloves and a cut lemon. If I’m feeling indulgent, I’ll put pats of butter all over the chicken (Mom’s trick).
Risotto is another dish that I experiment with. Once you’ve got the risotto basics down it’s easy to mix it up with different veggies, seasonings or cheeses. Tonight, I’m going with a basic three-cheese mix: mozzarella, fontina and pecorino romano. I’ll start the risotto about 30 minutes into the cook time for the chicken.
My recipe (for 3 of us):
- 1 cup Aborio rice
- 1/3 of an onion, chopped
- 2 ¼ cups of headed chicken broth
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Cheese, cheese and more cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat the butter and olive oil until butter is melted and the mixture starts to sizzle. Add the onion and cook until soft and slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook for about 1 minute to toast it. You’ll see the grains start to expand as they toast. Start adding chicken broth in approximately ¼ cup increments. Cook the rice, stirring frequently until the liquid is absorbed. Continue until you’ve used all of the chicken broth. Take the risotto off the heat and stir in the cheese. Stir until melted, season and serve.