roasted chicken, mashed potatoes


Tonight, chicken gravy is made separately from roasted chicken. That is, the valuable pan drippings have nothing to do with the gravy tonight. It is all saved for later. Why? Well, because I didn't want to wait for the roasted chicken to be done to start with gravy, I didn't want to separate the oil from the drippings so that it can be measured, and because I can sort out the drippings later after the whole thing cools and use the drippings later for later meals and a range of things. It's made with commercial broth. So the chicken gravy is not part of the roasted chicken. There is a trace amount of curry added to the gravy. 

Two small potatoes are microwaved for 5.5 minutes and then pushed through a ricer. A small amount of milk is heated with a generous tablespoon of butter in the microwave for 45 seconds. The heated milk and butter are combined with the riced potatoes using a fork to keep the potatoes fluffy. Here is the thing: stop adding the warmed milk and butter when the desired hydration is achieved even if that means wasting some. The milk and butter are best heated in advance and it is impossible to judge in advance how much the potatoes will take up before becoming too wet. So do not use it all just because you heated it and are loath to waste it. In this case, for tonight, the extra heated milk and butter could go into the gravy and actually contribute, so the extra milk and butter warmed did not go to waste. Just sayn'. It is a strong impulse to use it all just because you prejudged that amount and heated it. 

The chicken is rinsed with cold water, dried, split, oiled, seasoned, and tented with aluminum foil, baked at 325℉/163℃ for an hour, then at 425℉/218℃ untented for an additional 10 minutes. Then tented again outside the oven to rest while the mashed potatoes (riced potatoes) and gravy are completed concurrently. 

Most American communities offer roasted chicken right there at the grocery store. Good ones too. At the big box stores, rotisseries of chickens are rolling continuously. The big box chickens are gigantic, in keeping with their outsized marketing niche, much larger than the regular grocery store rotisserie chicken, and, this is what is so amazing, a cooked rotisserie chicken from the reviled big box store that is fresh off the rotisserie and hot in its careful container, and expertly cooked and is delicious, and  is larger is even less expensive than regular-size raw whole chicken at ordinary grocery stores! With all these advantages of roasted chickens from the big box stores and from all the grocery stores, there is little point to roasting a chicken at home. With such great choices, you have to be a little whacked to even bother. 

Another thing that I would like to point out if it happens that you are not on the North American continent and perhaps you do things differently, and maybe even regard our ways as a bit odd. The chicken is cooked in the oven. The gravy is cooked in a small pot on the stovetop. So that is two electrical burners right there, one large coil for the oven and a small coil, one of four coils, on the stove top. The potatoes are heated in the microwave because that is the fastest and the easiest, and the milk and butter are also heated in the microwave for under one minute. So, three heating techniques at once, roasting, stovetop, microwave, for a very simple meal. If you think that is insane, then maybe it is. All these same things can be done on a campfire or in a solar oven.  

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