Friday, October 21, 2011

Kitchen Sink Chicken


Ain't she a beaut?
When life gives you lemons, you slice them up and shove them up a bird cavity. Isn't that how the phrase goes? 

And not just lemons for that matter but many, many things left in the back of your fridge can be given new life by shoving them IN or UNDER a basic bird. (I really should find a more appealing verb than 'shove' shouldn't I?) 

This roasted chicken recipe is sure to please even the pickiest eaters, while serving as a fun way to use up all the odds and ends left in your pantry. AND if you buy a big enough bird, you can shred the leftovers and freeze for future *Girl From Scratch recipes. Don't be intimidated by a whole bird! I know we get used to just buying breasts and tenderloins at the grocery store, but there is so much flavor and tons of meat on a whole chicken. Not to mention it's way cheaper by the pound than boneless, skinless white meat. Remember: You CAN do it!

For today, I have a bag of limping celery, some dried out carrots and some forgotten fresh herbs that never made it into my well intentioned pesto recipe. Now those are basic roasting ingredients, but I challenge you to really dig and be creative. Got random root vegetables rolling around the bottom of your produce drawer? Got orange marmalade? This can make one of the tastiest chicken glazes I've ever made. One random potato, a yam, a single garlic clove, a parsnip? Fennel? Onion? Some Craisins? That's perfect! You are ready for this Kitchen Sink Roast Chicken recipe.

Kitchen Sink Roast Chicken 

Proof! I wasn't lying about the limping celery, it was on it's last legs.

The leading lady of this production.
Quirky cast of characters:
Upon further exploration I discovered a forgotten sweet potato, an orange and a half a bag of chopped walnuts, hmmmmmm.....this gets me thinking!
I couldn't decide between savory or sweet so I did both! One side: celery, onion, carrot, lemon, garlic and thyme. The other side was yams, craisins, and walnuts tossed in cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and orange zest.

Stuffed and prepped for the oven.
Golden brown and crisp to perfection. (This diva bird may or may not have set off the fire alarm to let me know it was finished. Hypothetically speaking, allegedly.....maybe. )
After the husband and I had a fabulous dinner of roasted chicken and sweetly caramelized vegetables, we shredded the rest for future dishes, and bagged the bones for stock. (homemade stock recipe coming soon!)

This recipe was inspired by Ina Garten's (The Barefoot Contessa) Perfect Roast Chicken. Even though I changed around the ingredient list, I used her recipe as my guidepost for temperatures and times. For this recipe the only thing you need to buy at the store is a fresh thawed chicken. The rest of the ingredients should be remnants in your fridge and cupboard. Use this as a way to be thrifty and clear out the good ole' pantry without wasting any grocery money.

The Craisins, sweet potato, walnuts and orange zest made a delicious side dish that's a little out-of-the-box. I'm so excited to hear your ideas! What do YOU have in your pantry that you might try?


  1. I get too grossed out thinking about pulling the "stuff" out of whole chickens or turkeys to make a roast. I'm usually not squeamish about food but for some reason I just can't get past it. The first time I prepared a turkey I thought I was going to lose it in the kitchen! :) Your recipes always look so fun-keep up the great work!

  2. Usually our Thursday night dinner is kitchen sink something or another. Friday is food shopping day in our house so I like to clean out the fridge. Your chicken looks very yummy.... nothing better than chicken leftovers... you can make so many new meals with them!

  3. This looks like an amazing chicken! I need to try it....I love roasted chicken!

  4. @Emily-They put all the "stuff" in a nice neat little bag now OR you can get your chicken at the butcher and he will literally do everything for you! You CAN do it!

    @Carrie-You are SO organized. Kitchen Sink Thursday and grocery shopping Friday, all with a gaggle of children....You are a mom that I could learn from:-)

    @Autumn-This chicken is delicious, it's not a fancy recipe, just plain and simple good food. Thanks for reading!

  5. I'm thinking about buying an electric roaster for Thanksgiving. I could roast a 22 lb. Turkey in it and then the oven would be available for everything else. "Kitchen Sink Chicken" would be a perfect way to practice using the roaster.

    By the way, I really enjoy reading your weekly posts--not just the recipes, but the commentary is fun. Love, Mom T.

  6. Thanks @Mom T. Let me know how you like the roaster. I sure will miss Thanksgiving at your house this year (especially the apple bread!).