May 18, 2017

Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative

I love cooking with local ingredients. Not only do they typically taste better than what you’ll find at the grocery store, but you also know exactly where they came from, and personally, it gives me a real sense of pride incorporating them into recipes.

With that in mind, each post in this new recipe series will feature at least one local ingredient. Being a proud member of the Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative for over a year, I wanted to kick things off by roasting one of their 3-pound chickens. Ina Garten’s Perfect Roasted Chicken was just the recipe to do it.

Every home cook needs a simple, go-to roasted chicken recipe to bust out on a Monday night when life’s a little hectic and you just want a good meal. Fortunately, I’ve prepared many of Ina’s creations in the past and have rarely been disappointed with the results. This roasted chicken was no different.

First and foremost, you’ll notice the recipe calls for 5-6-pound chicken, which is quite a bit larger than the 3-pounder you’ll get from Grass Roots. No worries, just set the oven temperature a little lower, like 400 degrees instead of 425, and cook for about an hour and ten minutes. Whatever the case, make sure the juices are running clear before you remove the chicken from the oven.

The preparation for this bird is easy and only takes about ten minutes. Make sure you rinse the chicken and pat dry with a paper towel. To ensure a nice, golden brown skin, apply softened butter around the exterior of the bird. Follow the rest of the recipe’s directions precisely, except don’t get discouraged if you’re using a smaller bird and can’t fit the entire amount of lemon and garlic inside the cavity. Just fit as much of the thyme, garlic, and lemon as possible and be done with it.

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One of the true delights about this roasted chicken recipe is the aromatic nature of carrots, fennel, onions, and thyme, which not only permeate throughout the chicken but also your entire house. I even got this quote from my daughter: “Dad, what are you cooking? Smells amazing!”

Once the chicken is done, remove from the oven, cover with foil, and let rest for 15-20 minutes. Every part of the chicken comes out tender, juicy, and quite flavorful. As you already know, one of the best things about roasted chicken is that it goes with just about anything. Pair it with a side of steamed rice, mashed potatoes, roasted broccoli, or grilled asparagus. If you have any leftover chicken, dice it up, throw in a bowl, add some chopped, boiled egg, a spoonful of Duke’s Mayonnaise, and a little salt and pepper. You’ve got yourself some delicious chicken salad for the next day.

Finally, if you’ve never heard of Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative, please go on the website, bounce around a little bit, and familiarize yourself with what they do and the great products they offer. I’ve cooked with many of them and have never been disappointed.

Kevin Shalin

Kevin Shalin is a food writer living in Little Rock with his wife, Sara, and two daughters, Natalie (12) and Sydney (7). He started his own blog, The Mighty Rib, seven years ago while living in Houston. Six months later, he began writing for Eating Our Words, a Houston Press food blog. After a year in Boston, he moved to Little Rock, where he’s been for almost five years. During that time, he’s written for Little Rock Soiree, Rock City Eats, Treatsie, and Bourbon and Boots.

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