Saturday was spent foraging (shopping) and Sunday was Prep Day!
First I had to get Sunday's dinner into the oven. I really do love these
Ranger chickens! Look how big and plump it is.
One whole chicken
One head of garlic
One lemon, quartered
Red potatoes (2 small potatoes per serving)
Carrots (2 or three per serving)
Onions (one half onion per serving)
Fresh herbs (parsley and rosemary)
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
All you need to do to prep the chicken is take it out of the bag, remove the little bag of gizzards from inside the chicken (I save these for my dogs) and remove the pads of fat that are usually found just inside the cavity (we don't need that extra fat in our pot). Rinse out the chicken cavity with water, place the chicken in a Dutch oven and pat it dry with paper towels.
Put the lemon quarters, whole head of garlic and a handful of fresh herbs into the chicken cavity. Rub a little olive oil on the outside of the chicken and then wash your hands with hot water and soap as well as any countertop or utensils that touched the chicken (this is VERY important when handling raw chicken). Put the pot in the preheated oven for 30 minutes (cooking the chicken at high heat for the first 30 minutes will give a wonderful brown, crispy skin).
Now we have 30 minutes to prep the vegetables for the roast chicken dinner and get started on prepping the rest of our "Do Aheads". Cut the red potatoes into quarters . Peel the carrots and cut into large chunks (2 or 3 carrots per serving). Remove the outer skin and quarter the onions. Remember to save carrot tops and onion tops and skins for your "Making A Stock" freezer bag.
After 30 minutes turn the oven down to 325 degrees, add the vegetables to the pot with the chicken and let it roast for another hour and half to two hours, depending on the size of the chicken. A thermometer inserted in meaty part of thigh should register 170 degrees and the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced with a fork. Now here's the fancy part. Remove the chicken from the pot and place it on a serving platter breast side down so that the juices will run towards the breast meat and keep it moist. Cover the chicken with aluminum foil and let it rest for 30 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the pot with a slotted spoon and place in a serving bowl, cover and keep warm in the oven until time to serve. After 30 minutes turn the chicken breast side up, cut into serving pieces and serve with the vegetables. (Hint: if there are only two of you for dinner serve the legs and thighs and save the breast meat for chicken sandwiches later in the week).
Now lets get on to our "Do Ahead" preps for this week (of course we will have been doing this while our chicken was roasting).
Wash the mushrooms and allow to dry (I ended up with cremini mushrooms; they were the same price and I like them better).
Slice the mushrooms and saute in a little olive oil.
Divide the mushrooms between the cups of a muffin pan and then put the pan in the freezer.
When the mushrooms are frozen ...
... pop them out of the cups, place in a labeled freezer bag and return to the freezer.
Wipe out the pan that you sauteed the mushrooms in, add a little more olive oil , brown the chicken thighs in batches ...
... and set aside to cool. Once the thighs have cooled package them for freezing according to the number you will be serving ... I put two thighs per pack to serve myself and Mike.
Label the packages and put them in the freezer...
That's it! We're done! Now we have one really good meal in the oven and the makings for four more in the freezer. We need to give ourselves a pat on the back :)