Roast Chicken and Gravy

Ingredients

1 whole chicken
salt
pepper
olive oil
thyme
half an onion
5 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp. flour
1 cup chicken stock

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450ºF and roast the chicken at this high temperature for the first 10 – 15 minutes and the last 10 – 15 minutes.  The rest of the time the chicken should be roasted at 375ºF. As a general rule, calculate a total cooking time of 20 minutes per pound of meat plus an additional 10 – 20 minutes.

Start preparing the chicken by thoroughly cleaning and rinsing it under a cold running tap. Patt dry with a kitchen towel. Place the chicken on a wire rack set in a shallow roasting pan and grease the skin of the chicken with either butter or olive oil. Then season the bird with salt, pepper and thyme. Place half and onion and some garlic into the body cavity and begin cooking.

Every 20 minutes while the chicken is cooking, remove the chicken from the oven and pour or brush the fat and juices that have accumulated in the roasting pan, over the bird. If you find that the chicken is browning too quickly during cooking, then loosely cover the breast of the bird with a large piece of aluminium foil until it is done.

Roast the chicken for the correct amount of time and then use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken is cooked. The temperature must read 180ºF (83ºC) for the chicken to be cooked all the way through. When properly cooked, remove the chicken from the oven and leave it to rest for 15 – 20 minutes on a carving board to allow the juices to settle.

To make the gravy, pour the juices and grease from the chicken into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and whisk in flour until it forms a thick paste. Add chicken stock and mix together. Turn down the heat and simmer on low for a few minutes, whisking continuously, until gravy thickens to desired consistency.

From Help with Cooking

Parmesan Risotto

Ingredients

5 cups hot good-quality chicken broth
1/4 cup butter (no substitutes)
1 large onion , finely chopped
1 -2 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/4 cups grated parmesan cheese (can use less)
2 -3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
salt and black pepper

Directions

Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan; reduce the heat, to low and cover the saucepan to keep hot. In another heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt 1/4 cup butter over medium-low heat, add in onion and saute until very tender but not brown (about 8-10 minutes). Add in garlic and stir for about 2 minutes. Increase heat slightly and add in the rice; stir for 1 minute.

Slowly add in 1-1/2 cups hot broth with a ladle; boil gently, stirring until the broth is absorbed. Add in another 1 cup broth, and stir until absorbed. Add in 1/2 cup broth at a time allowing the broth to absorb before adding in another 1/2 cup (do this until you have used up all of the broth) stirring frequently until the rice is tender and creamy (this should take between 25-30 minutes).

Stir in 3 tablespoons butter and 1-1/4 cup (or less) grated Parmesan cheese; mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Source: Kittencal’s Kitchen

Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup

Ingredients

4 red bell peppers
canola or olive oil, for cooking
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 14 oz. (398 mL) can diced or whole tomatoes, undrained
1 L chicken or vegetable stock
1/4-1/2 cup half and half or light sour cream (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
extra sour cream, for serving (optional)

Directions

Cut red peppers in half lengthwise; pull out the seeds and membranes. Place cut side down on a baking sheet that has been lined with foil. Roast at 450°F or broil on high for about 30 minutes (less under the broiler), until blackened and blistered, rotating the sheet if necessary for them to cook evenly.

Remove from the sheet and place in a bowl; cover with the foil or a plate and let cool. When cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and discard them, dropping the peppers back into the bowl.

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat and sauté the onion for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, add the thyme, tomatoes and chicken stock and bring to a simmer; add the red peppers along with any juices that have accumulated in the bowl and cook for about 20 minutes.

Turn the heat down to low and add the cream, salt and pepper. Puree with a hand-held immersion blender or transfer to a blender in batches and pulse until smooth. Heat through, adjust the seasoning and serve warm. If you like, top each bowl with a small dollop of sour cream, and run a bamboo skewer through it to create a teardrop shape.

From Dinner with Julie