Friday, April 3, 2009

Two for one: Roast Chicken, then Chicken Chimichangas

I've roasted chickens before, and it usually involved some olive oil or butter, various seasonings, and lemons. However, this time I'd defrosted my bargain whole chicken purchased during a sale, but had forgotten to pick up a lemon. So I turned to google to see what I could find.

And I found this.

I was hugely skeptical. Roast a chicken at 450? With only salt and pepper? I was going to end up with really dry chicken at best, charcoal at worst. However, I always figure I should TRY new things, and if they really turn out awful I can order a pizza.

But let me tell you--it turned out AWESOME and was the easiest chicken I've ever made. This is the method I will use from now on, because why do all that extra work if it's not needed?

This was after we'd eaten half of it. I forgot to take a picture of the whole thing. But even in it's half-mangled state, isn't it pretty? And it was moist and YUMMY as well. I did not do the whole butter/mustard thing suggested on the site, and I didn't have any thyme, either, but it was still good.

One thing I noticed in the comments was that people complained of smoking a lot. I didn't have that issue at all. What I did, beyond what the recipe says to do (you MUST truss the chicken!! I didn't have any kitchen string so I used two bamboo skewers to hold the legs in place, but I've read that unflavored dental floss will also work), is line the roasting pan with foil (mostly b/c I'm lazy) and put some sliced onion underneath the bird. I also didn't really measure the salt or pepper--I just sprinkled it on. And instead of setting the timer, I used the oven thermometer thing (if you don't own a meat thermometer you put in your meat with a temp reading thing that stays outside the oven, go get one, seriously, they are awesome). I took the chicken out when the breast hit about 170. I set it for 165, but things happened.

Here's what the pan looked like after the chicken was removed:

I did notice that a lot of juice pooled inside the (empty!!) cavity of the bird. I just sort of tilted the pan to let it pour out, and then took a silicon brush and "basted" the bird before letting it rest, uncovered, while I made some mashed potatoes with roasted garlic (remember the roasted garlic from the other night?).

Then I put the half we didn't eat in a ziplock for dinner the next night, as roast chicken chimichangas. I also saved the carcass and all the junk from inside the bird to make chicken stock with, but I haven't gotten around to that yet.

So, night 2, Roast Chicken Chimichangas, from Cooking Light.

The cooking light recipe says to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, which I'm sure makes these lighter, but I tend to use whatever leftover chicken I've got. You could also use your leftovers to make enchiladas, which I'm sure I'll post some day.

2 1/2 cups shredded chicken (tip: shred it while it's inside the ziplock, and your hands won't get all chickeny)
1 cup (4 oz) queso fresco cheese. You can use Monterey Jack in a pinch.
1/4 cup chopped green onions. You can use 1/8 cup dried onions if you don't have any green onions on hand.
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (4.5 oz) can chopped green chiles, drained
1 (16 oz) can fat-free refried beans
6 (8-inch) flour tortillas

Cooking spray
1/2 cup green salsa

Preheat oven to 500.

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl; toss well.

Spread 1/4 cup beans down center of each tortilla. Top each tortilla with 2/3 cup chicken mixture and roll up (this is the part I suck at--anyone want to give me a burrito rolling lesson??). Place rolls, seam side down, on a large baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Coat tops of chimichangas with cooking spray.

Bake at 500 for 7 minutes or until crispy/lightly browned. Top with salsa.


Sorry there isn't a picture, but I am self-conscious about my tortilla-folding skills. Oh, and if you have any of the chicken mixture left, you can throw it on top of some lettuce and make a yummy salad with it.

So, from one chicken we got two dinners for all the geeks (who eat real food), and lunch for me for two days. Not bad for a "bargain" bird.

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