Almost every week, I roast a chicken. They are soooo easy! You just put a little bit of seasoning on them and pop them in the oven and let them cook..... then, you can have roasted chicken, or shredded chicken for a salad or soup, or you can chop up the chicken and use it in a stir fry. With the bones, I make my own chicken stock too, so I have some fresh stock handy that doesn't have a bunch of additives or salt in it! Here's my idea for a hearty meal on a nice cold night.
Roasted chicken with mashed rutabagas, green beans, and pan gravy
* 1 whole chicken
* 2 carrots
* 3 stalks of celery
* 1/2 red pepper
* 1 onion
* 3 cloves garlic
* 4 tbs butter
* 2 tsp sage
* 1 tbs olive oil
* 1 tbs tapioca flour
* 2 cups chicken stock
I like buying local, so I went to a farmers market and found an Amish guy who sells poultry, dairy, fresh eggs and a bunch of other stuff. I bought a whole chicken from him, which was a pretty good deal. Inside, the chicken was a bag of little organs - ugh haha. Raw meat doesn't bother me, but a baggie of random organs does scare me a bit. I know that a lot of people eat organ meat, but I'm not one of them! I ended up boiling them (not sure exactly what parts of the chicken they were) and then I chopped it up and fed it to the pup... why waste it, right?
Anyway, I had a bunch of random veggies in the fridge that I wanted to use: a few stalks of celery, the leftovers of a bag of baby carrots, an apple that I had dropped on the floor and bruised, and half a red pepper left over from another yummy meal. I chopped everything up into pieces that were about 3/4 of an inch thick and threw them into the bottom of a roasting pan. I also preheated the oven to 375.
I poured some olive oil on top of the veggies and swished it all together.
I had an apple in the fridge and I'm an apple snob... I don't like to eat them if they have huge bruises on them, so I halved it and stuffed it inside the chicken. I remember my mom doing this sometimes when roasting a turkey, so I figured it would be good in a chicken too. I think the juice of the apple helps to keep the chicken moist when roasting, but I don't know if that's a real thing or just my imagination. :)
Next, I put the roasting rack in the pan and set the chicken on top. Then, I took paper towels and dried off the bird. You have to dry it, or else the butter won't stick to the chicken and you'll have a gloopy mess and not much flavor.
In a small bowl, I added the butter (which I also bought from the Amish dude- so it's from organic, grass fed cows!). I chopped up some of the garlic and added in the sage and a little bit of salt and pepper.
Then, with my fingers, I mushed it all together. The messier the better... I suppose that you could use a fork, but where's the fun in that? Also, I just feel like I can get a better idea of when everything is really evenly mixed when I use my fingers.
Then, again with my fingers, I spread the seasoned butter all over the chicken... on the skin, under the skin... everywhere. You basically give the poor little bird a butter massage. If you don't do dairy, you can just mix the seasonings with olive oil and brush that all over the bird. Then, I popped it in the oven and let it bake! I let it bake for maybe an hour and a half? I really don't remember haha... But I did take a meat thermometer and make sure the temperature was right about 180. While I was waiting for the chicken to cook, I worked on the sides.
Here's the beautiful roasted chicken when it finished. I took the roasting rack out with the chicken on it and set it over a plate to catch any juices. Now, it's time to make the gravy! I left the veggies in the roasting pan and set it over 2 burners on the stove and turned the heat to medium.
Typically when you make gravy, you need a thickening agent, like flour. Since flour isn't paleo, I used some tapioca flour. It's basically cassava (a root vegetable) that's been dried up and ground into a fine powder. I added the tapioca flour and mixed it up so the roasted veggies had a nice coating of the tapioca flour.
Then I added in the chicken stock and continued stirring and stirring and stirring until the whole thing thickened up. Soon, I had a yummy gravy with huge chunks of veggies in it. You can leave the veggies in and make it a thick gravy of sorts, or you can strain them out.
I chose to strain them out because I didn't peel the carrots or onions or anything. I just put a seive over a bowl and poured the whole thing into it. Because it was thick, it took a while to actually strain through, but I stirred it around with a spoon to speed up the process a bit.
Then you have a nice yummy paleo gravy! For the sides, you typically have some sort of mashed potato and veggie, but I made a paleo twist!
* 4 small rutabagas
* 4 tbs butter
* 1 ham hock
I'm not really sure what a rutabaga is... it's a root vegetable, but I'm still not clear on if it's a turnip or if it's something different. Anyway, I thought this would be a nice substitute for mashed potatoes! I peeled the rutabagas with a veggie peeler and cut them into small pieces. While I was doing this, I had started some water boiling.
I threw the ham hock in the boiling water. Like the rutabaga, I'm not 100% sure what a ham hock is.... I think it has something to do with the ankle of the pig or something like that, but I know that they add a lot of flavor. Anyway, once the rutabagas were chopped, I added them to the boiling water and let them cook through. I boiled them until I could stick a fork in them without much resistance.
Once the rutabagas were cooked, drained them and removed the ham hock. Then I added in the butter, some salt and pepper and mashed them up. They were a bit harder than regular potatoes, and I was running out of time because the chicken was almost done, so I used a hand mixer and mashed everything up.
I also wanted a bit of green, so I just thawed out some frozen organic green beans. I added some of the meat from the ham hock and cooked the green beans so they would have some nice flavor.
So there you have it! A nice, hearty, all American meal that's totally paleo and delicious! It's also pretty darn easy.
Do you see just how yummy everything looks?! It's totally healthy, totally easy, and totally yummy! The chicken was tender and had a lot of flavor. The mashed rutabagas had a good flavor and added that kinda mushy consistency that's perfect to dunk your chicken in. And the green beans just really rounds out the meal well.