I used to work for a woman who was an amazing cook. One day I was visiting her and she handed me a bowl of broccoli soup with a spoon and said: " You have to try this! " It was very tasty. She told me it was a box mix and made the comment " You would think that I slaved over the stove all day to make this!" It was true. I am sure she kept a steady supply in her cupboards for busy days.
I wanted to create a recipe for a (mid week) Date Night Dinner on a budget that was easy to pull together on a tight schedule and make it look like it was an all day event. I think I accomplished my goal with this roasted chicken.
In this instructable I will share with you how to make this beautiful roasted chicken for a date night dinner. Follow through and let's get started.
Step 1: Author's Notes
There are ways to add a lot of flavor to a simple recipe. I always make it a point to add fresh ingredients like fresh oregano, homemade chicken broth, freshly ground pepper corns and use fresh produce like Meyers lemons when in season. All of these add a fresh tasting flavor to the recipe. The red butter lips and the heart shaped juice cubes created a romantic atmosphere.
Step 2: Ingredients and Utensils
I was careful not to add too much seasonings because I did not go by a recipe. When I use seasonings in my recipes to share with people I tend to use less seasonings because I am older and my taste buds are not as sensitive as younger people. I remember years ago when my mother-in-law visited us and she cooked dinner. It had so much salt in it that it was not fit to eat.
My son suggested I add quite a bit more salt to this recipe but I could not do it until I tried it using less. After making it, I might have added a little bit more salt and even more pepper and Oregano. I did make this recipe before; using less oil and butter and decided to add more for this one because the pan drippings and extra feta really were good.
1 Whole fresh organic chicken
1-24 oz. Feta cheese crumbled ( I love feta cheese so I used a lot)
4 Cups low salt chicken broth (I made my own chicken broth to control ingredients)
1/2 to 1 Cube soft butter depending on how many lip molds you want.
2 Tablespoons olive oil not shown
1 -2 Fresh whole cooked carrots firm but soft (very large)
1 Cooked beet can be substituted for a different veggie
2 Organic whole Meyer lemons with the lemon peel for the zest (regular lemons will be Ok to use but will change the flavor some. I got mine here)
2 Teaspoons Dried Oregano or herbs of your choice
2 Tablespoons Fresh minced Oregano
1 Tablespoon Sea salt
1 Tablespoon freshly ground pepper corns
Bakers food coloring optional for the colored butter lips
Blender, oven and stove top safe skillet / baking dish, as well as forks, spoons, knife, measuring cups and spoons, cutting board, (cookie cutters optional) silicone molds, (optional), X-large zip lock bag or large covered bowl,bakers twine, paper towels, turkey baster, zester, tooth picks, gravy dish, serving plate.
Step 3: Chicken Broth
I added 1 t fresh minced oregano to the chicken broth and cooked it on the stove until it began to boil. I did it this way because I made the broth unseasoned (just a tad bit of sea salt was added) from scratch in advance for soups and other entrees.
I Remove it from the heat and let it cool.
Step 4: Blend
Place the broth into the blender and add 1 package of the feta cheese and 1 Tablespoon sea salt.
Blend until smooth.
Place raw chicken into a large bowl or X-large zip lock bag.
Pour the broth mixture over the chicken.
Cover and refrigerate overnight. (Don't leave the chicken in the broth longer than 8 hours).
Meanwhile you can go to the next step and prepare the molds.
Step 5: Butter Molds
Make butter lips:
I used soft butter for the lip shapes.
I mixed a very small amount of red ( bakers food coloring) to the soft butter and mixed it thoroughly.
I spooned the colored butter into the lip mold and put it in the freezer until frozen then removed them from the mold and placed them in a covered dish until just before serving. .
I did not want the butter to melt so I place these on cooled potatoes to take a picture so you could see the shape.
I made heart shaped cranberry juice ice cubes for the clear drinks (for a different romantic meal).
You could even make heart shapes with the mashed potatoes using a larger cookie cutter.
Step 6: Carrot and Beet Garnish
I used the cookie cutters to cut out the beet and carrot hearts and added them to the arugula.
I removed the beet skins.
Cut the beet and carrots into thick slices.
Cut out the heart shapes using the cookie cutter.
Place the hearts in a covered dish until just before serving.
Here is something you might try:
I made X's and O's from the carrots and potatoes in a different instructable.
Step 7: Drain and Rest Chicken
My son taught me to set meat on the counter and allow it to come to room temperature before seasoning it and cooking it. The meat will cook much better.
Take the chicken out of the refrigerator and drain the juice off the chicken, I used brown paper on a plate to soak up the juice. Throw away the bowl of chicken broth.
Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel.
Allow to rest for 1 Hour.
While the chicken is resting go on to the next step.
Step 8: Mix Seasonings
The next time I make this I will be adding some of the zest to the seasoning mix and see what happens. I think the oil from the zest might coat the chicken and help even out the seasonings a little better, I don't know but it is worth a try. The skin on this chicken was very fragile so I could not rub the seasonings in very hard. It might have been because it was a young chicken.
Mix the dried oregano, crushed pepper corns, and fresh oregano together.
Step 9: Meyer Lemon Prep
Of the 2 lemons I used 1/2 to make lemon wedges with the peel for garnishing the platter. The remaining lemons were used for the zest and juice. I used 2 lemon halves to insert into the chicken cavity using most of the juice from the lemon for pouring over the raw chicken and during the basting process if that makes since. The picture shows 3 lemons because I ordered Meyer lemons and froze the juice and zest. I used that picture because I did not have fresh Meyer lemons.
Wash the lemons
Zest 1 1/2 of the lemons
Cut the lemons in half
Cut lemon wedges from 1/2 of a lemon with the peel
Step 10: Season the Chicken
Pre-heat Oven 350 degrees F
Rub butter all over the chicken
Rub the seasoning mixture into the chicken and inside the cavity.
Sprinkle zest over the chicken reserving some for later
Sprinkle Lemon juice over the chicken reserving some until later
Place the two lemon halves into the cavity of the bird
Tie bakers twine around the legs to keep the lemons inside the bird, secure with toothpicks if needed
Place 2 Tablespoons of the butter and 2 Tablespoons of the oil in the skillet and mix (Mixing butter with oil reduces the browning of the butter)
Turn up the heat to medium high
Don't reduce the butter or oil if you want extra for the delicious pan drippings.
Step 11: Pan Sear the Bird
Heat the skillet and when a wooden spoon is placed in the skillet and bubbles appear around the edges of the spoon; the pan is hot enough to sear the chicken.
Place the chicken breast side up and pan sear until the bottom is brown; it does not take very long. No need to brown the breast.
Remove the pan from the stove top and place into the oven uncovered.
Roast the chicken for one hour; basting a few times through out the roasting time.
Remove from the oven when it is fully cooked.
Sprinkle with feta cheese, lemon juice, and sea salt.
Allow it to rest for a few minutes before placing it on a platter.
Pour the pan drippings into a gravy dish.
Step 12: Plating
Spread the arugula over the platter
Garnish with the beets and carrots
Sprinkle feta cheese
Sprinkle lemon zest
Sprinkle with lemon juice.
Ladle pan drippings over the arugula
Set out the butter lips for the bread or potatoes.
Step 13: Sunshiine's Final Thoughts
I have made several variations of this roasted chicken using feta cheese and they were so good. The recipe can be easily modified. I will be trying apricots and peaches with this when they are in season; but I'll bet orange and orange zest would be really good. I hope you give this recipe a try. We all loved it. This is an entry for the Date Night Dinner Contest and if you think it is worthy of your vote, please click the vote button at the top right corner. I will be grateful for your vote.
I wish to thank instructables and contributors for making this a grand place to share ideas and creations. Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope your date night was very romantic. If you got a proposal please do share.