Sunday, February 6, 2011

Messiest Chicken Roaster Ever!

I've always struggled with getting my chicken roaster to taste as flavorful as I want it to - without adding a whole lot of gravy, that is. I've tried a lot of recipes - lemon basil, brined, butter rubbed - and now . . . Tandoori Rubbed! You definitely have to like Indian flavors and spices to get into this meal - but I thought it was a great alternative to the usual roaster meal. The only thing I wish was that every single roaster came with a pop-up to tell you when it was done. I still haven't mastered the art of being able to tell when my roaster is just done perfectly, but I've adjusted this recipe so that you can try your best at a nice juicy chicken roaster! We made sandwiches with this roaster, but you could also make it into a Sunday dinner by pairing it with something like a coconut basmati rice and vegetables.

Tandoori Rubbed Chicken Roaster Sandwiches
Chicken Roaster (I used a Perdue Grade A Whole Chicken, 4.92 lbs)
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloes, minced
1 TB fresh ginger, minced
1 TB. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. saffron threads*
1/2 tsp. ground tumeric
1/4 tsp. salt
6 oz. plain nonfat greek yogurt
1/2 lime, juiced (about 1 TB)

*If you don't have saffron, don't worry about it. It's VERY expensive and difficult to find. I wanted some so badly that I asked for it for christmas! The chicken will still have that Indian flavor without it.

Cuisinart Food Processor -
Mini Prep Plus size
1. Chop your onion, ginger and garlic. Put into a food processor and puree together. A picture of my favorite small food processor is at right!
2. Heat the oil in a small nonstick saute pan over medium heat - and add the onion puree to the pan. Cook for 5 mins until the onion is translucent.
3. Add the cumin, coriander, saffron and turmeric to the pan. Mix everything together until well blended, then remove from the heat and let cool. Once cooled, stir the yogurt into the onion mixture and season with a little salt.
4. Get the chicken roaster ready! Rinse it off and make sure to remove the giblet pack. Place chicken, breast side up, in a glass roasting pan. Tuck the wings underneath the chicken and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
5. Gently separate the skin from the breast of the chicken on top, just sort of press your fingers underneath the skin and it should pretty easily separate. Rub some of the yogurt mixture underneath the skin so it sits directly on the chicken breast. You will have a lot of the yogurt mixture left - use the rest of it to cover the rest of the chicken on the outside. This is a seriously messy process - I wish I had taken a picture of my hands afterwards!
6. Cover the roast with saran wrap and put it in the fridge. Ideally, you should marinade overnight but I marinated mine for a little over 3 hours and that was okay too. Be sure to take the chicken out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you're ready to put it in the oven.
7. Preheat oven to 450 degrees, and once it is preheated, turn down to 400 and put roaster in the oven for 30 minutes. If there aren't enough cooking juices in the pan, add a little water (1/4 cup or so), so that you can baste the roaster occasionally. After the 30 minutes is up, turn the pan around so the other side of the chicken is facing the back of the oven now - bake for an additional 30-40 minutes (depending on the size of your roaster). Mine, at 4.92 lbs, wasn't quite done after 1 hour - could've used an additional 5-10 minutes. Take out of the oven and let rest for 15 minutes before cutting into it.

As I mentioned above, I chose to prepare this roaster with the intention of making chicken sandwiches. After doing a little online research I came up with the perfect accompaniments to go with the roaster! I made a Tzatziki Sauce (recipe below), which is traditionally more mediterranean/greek - but was a wonderful pairing for this sandwich and I'm planning to make a greek meal later this week to use the rest of the Tzatziki! I also prepared some vegetables to put in with the sandwich - sliced tomato, grated carrot, sliced yellow pepper and lettuce. You'll also see some lime wedges, which I squeezed over the chicken on the sandwich. Yummmmy! I chose a whole-wheat pita bread (Joseph's Flax, Oat Bran and Whole Wheat Pita Bread - just 60 calories and all kinds of good things for you!) to make my sandwich, but you could really use any roll or wrap you'd like!

Tzatziki Sauce
1 6 oz. Danon all-natural plain nonfat yogurt
1 6 oz. Chobani plain nonfat greek yogurt
1 large cucumber
1/2 TB kosher coarse salt
1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
1/2 TB dried dill (fresh is always better, but not always on hand)
1 TB fresh mint
1/2 tsp. oregano
2 TB fresh lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Peel cucumber and slice down the middle to cut in half. Using a spoon, spoon out the seeds because they'll add too much water to the mixture. Cut the cucumber into thick slices and place in a colander set over a bowl. Sprinkle with the coarse salt and let stand for 30 minutes to help drain some of the liquid in the cucumber.
2. In a food processor (the same one as in the recipe above!), add drained cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, dill, mint, oregano and a few grinds of black pepper. Process until well blended and before adding it to the yogurt, try to drain/spoon off a bit of the liquid. Then you can stir this mixture into the yogurt. Taste it first and if it needs additional salt or pepper, feel free to add a little.
3. Put into the refrigerator for at least two hours to let the flavors marinade and really blend together!

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