Roast Chicken with Sage Butter Pesto

by Jenn on June 16, 2009

in Budget,Diabetic Friendly,Dips and Sauces,Gluten Free,Meats

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This recipe is my addition to an awesome monthly gluten free recipe meme, Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free! – this month hosted by Carol over at Simply Gluten-Free, and the theme for this month is MANLY FOOD.  Well, I don’t think anything can get more manly than a beautiful roast!  And in my “waste-not” ways, I’ve figured out how to use the entire chicken for a variety of uses.  This was my first roast bird, and it was quite the experience. But it was SO delectable, I wonder if I will ever see myself making chicken in any other way again.  This was moist.  And tender.  And FLAVORFUL.  Can you ask for anything more?

I’m not writing a specific recipe for how to roast this chicken (just the sage butter pesto), because it wasn’t a recipe, it was a process, haha.  This whole post is that process.

This entire process was learned via a phone call with my mother, since it’s not like I have Thanksgiving dinner experience (ha, kinda hard for 2 newlywed grad students to host our huge families for Thanksgiving!).  The first experience was prepping the bird.  I purchased a whole bird from my grocery store (all natural antibiotic and hormone free, I know not as awesome as from a farmer’s market, but it was on sale and so I bought it a couple weeks ago and quickly stuck it in the freezer until this awesome date), and the first thing I noticed after I had thawed it and was ready to go, was that was there was no cavity to stuff the veggies.  I called my mom and she said “well honey, you have to take out the bag of innards first” – ha well this chicken was natural enough there was no such bag.  Thus began my mini anatomy lesson as I removed each organ from its original location to create the cavity to stuff my mirepoix (carrots, onion, celery) into.  Good thing I don’t get grossed out easily!

Actually it was a good experience and I didn’t mind.  Food doesn’t start off in a nice neat package.  Food starts off as a living breathing form of life.  I have no doubt that I ate an actual bird tonight, and not just some random thing called meat that comes in a shrink-wrapped styrofoam packing.  It’s important to connect to your food.  This is something that Michael Pollan espouses again and again in Omnivore’s Dilemma.

After that, I rinsed it to get all the blood etc. out, and then heavily salted the insides per my mother’s instructions.  I stuffed it with veggies and was ready to lay it on the roasting pan.  Wait, roasting pan? I don’t have one of those…turns out a cookie rack propped on top of my lasagna dish worked just fine – yay for ingenuity!

The next part was all me – I created a sage butter pesto to massage on to the chicken, stick under the skin, and into the main area with the veggies as well.  I omitted the traditional cheese in this pesto, since I didn’t think that would work flavor wise or well in roasting.

And voila! my beautiful roast –
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Now what to do with this roast?  Roast chicken is great because of 1.) how economical it is (I paid  $7 for 4.66lb) and 2.)how many things you can make with roast chicken meat.  After gorging myself fully enjoying some great dinner tonight, I plan on making with the leftovers a pesto chicken salad, and of course using the bones and the neck for making some awesome chicken stock.  I also plan on freezing some of the chicken, and saving it for later use in a casserole.  Not bad for one $7 bird!

By the way, when I carved this, I carved it with a fork. Yes my friends a FORK.  That’s how tender it was, I didn’t even need a knife!