Thanksgiving for Two
It’s that time of the year when everyone is supposed to be with their family during the holidays, but if you are like me, this year that’s just not possible. So not only are you by yourself but you are also mostly eating a TV dinner or at the Chinese restaurant because honestly, how would you do a turkey all by yourself? Do not fear! You can still have that home cooked holiday feeling with little work and have enough for a reasonable amount of left overs or you can invite another person over and share it with them. Gentlemen and ladies…this would be a great time to invite that special someone in your life and turn what is traditionally a family holiday into a romantic one.
Instead of roasting a turkey switch to a smaller, more manageable chicken instead. Serving it with a couple sides instead of the whole line up will make this quite easy. Another nice thing about a chicken i that you can easily buy it close to Thanksgiving and probably won’t have to get it frozen. I bought my fresh chicken and picked out two of my favorite sides. I picked creamy mashed potatoes and roasted brussle sprouts. Feel free to change these to suit your taste. Pick some fresh fruit and/or vegetables to stuff your bird with. I like the citrus from lemons and onions are my favorite vegetable to use for roasting.
The day before you are going to roast the bird,brine it. Take a container large enough to submerge the bird in and fill with cool water and about a half-cup of salt. the finer the salt the easier it is to dissolve. Canning salt works great but you can use any kind. Dissolve the salt into the water then lower the bird in to the brine. Let sit in the refrigerator over night or eight to twelve hours. Brineing it for longer times doesn’t do anything but it doesn’t hurt it ether.
When you are ready to cook, chop up all those veggies and fruit you chose in nice big pieces. You will use those to add flavor and keep the chicken up out of the cooking juices while roasting. I quartered a lemon with the rind still on, cut a few onions into quarters or sixths. use those baby carrots as is, and chopped a couple of green onions in half. you want a platform of veggies that will hold the bird up from the bottom of a roasting pan about an inch. Place all the produce but a couple of hand fulls in the pan.
Take a half a stick of softened butter plus either spices or a rub and mix them together. I am making a Jerk Chicken so I used a Jerk rub I like but thyme and rosemary are a safe bet instead. Drain the brine and dab the bird dry with paper towels. salt and pepper the bird inside and out then rub your butter spread all over the bird. You can even rub it under the skin of the breast so when it melts it gets on the meat instead of just the skin. Place it on that bed of produce and use the remainder you put aside to stuff into the chickens cavity. Make sure to tuck in the wings underneath the bird so they don’t burn but I don’t bother with the twine around the chickens legs. Doesn’t look as nice but not tying the legs together doesn’t change the flavor any. Once you are done toss the pan into the oven. You can easily find cooking times and directions with a Google search for “roast chicken recipe.” A good recipe I like to use is Ina Garten’s.
The difficult thing about cooking multiple items is for them all to finish at the same time. Read the recipes, many of them give you cooking and preparation times. Otherwise you just have to guess. When the chicken is done tranfer it to a cutting board and tent with aluminum foil. Let it sit for at least fifteen minuets, covered, while you work on your sides and gravy. You can find the Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Garlic Smashed Potatoes links here.
To make the gravy, remove the solids to the trash and transfer most of the drippings to a bowl. Heat the roasting pan over low heat. Stir in about two tablespoons flour and stir until you have a light brown paste. Gradually pour in the drippings, whisking continuously, until you have a thickened sauce. Simmer for 2 mins, using a wooden spoon to stir, scraping any sticky bits from the bottom. Strain the gravy into a small saucepan, then simmer and season to taste.
Carve the bird and plate it with your sides. Serve.
When you are done eating don’t forget that a lot of other great meals can come from what you still have left. Pick over the carcass and remove all remain pieces of meat you can and place them into a resealable bags. The large pieces I use a lot for hot or cold sandwiches or lettuce salad. The little bits I put into soups or chicken salads. The carcass itself can be used to make stock or broth right then or freeze it in a resealable bag and make it at a later date.
Have a great Thanksgiving! Go Da-Bears!
From the Tiny Kitchen,