Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Chicken in Every Pot

In almost all of my cooking magazines this month (and there are many), there is a feature article about budget friendly recipes. In these hard economic times, everyone is looking for ways to pinch pennies, and your grocery cart is a great place to start. I'm kind of a stickler for organic, free-range, grass-fed, artisan made things, and unfortunately those foods come with a much higher price tag than the mass factory produced foods. But I hardly spend any money at all on processed foods, or packaged meals, and that in and of itself is a great way to save your hard-earned dollars. Cooking meals from scratch is not difficult and it saves money, not to mention the numerous health benefits that come from eating a whole foods diet.

When Herbert Hoover promised a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage, who could imagine that chicken would be considered "economical" and most people would be so prosperous that their cars wouldn't be able to fit in a garage for all the excess stuff? But these days, even an organic chicken is quite budget friendly, especially when purchased whole.

I am a huge fan of whole chickens. I either chop them up into parts or roast them whole. They are virtually a blank slate with endless ways to prepare them, and we can usually stretch one whole chicken to feed our family of five for two meals. Chicken assumes the flavor of whatever you season it with, and can be mild, herbaceous, or hot and spicy. For tonight's dinner I chose the latter. It is a recipe that my mom makes that originally came off the back of a bag of Foster Farm's whole chicken. I have no idea if the recipe I make today is exactly the same one, but it is a close approximation. It is quick, saucy, and tender, with heat from a spice rub and diced green chiles. I always serve it over white rice to absorb all the flavorful sauce. I think it tastes a lot like arroz con pollo, one of my favorite Mexican dishes.

Green Chile Chicken

1 broiler chicken (about 3 pounds)
2 t chile powder
1 t ground cumin
1 t salt
1/2 t ground pepper
2 T canola oil
1 can diced green chiles
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 C chicken broth
1 T corn starch
3 T water
1/4 C sour cream

Remove gizzards, rinse chicken and pat it dry. Combine chile powder, cumin, salt and pepper and rub all over the chicken's skin. Heat 2 T canola oil in a large dutch oven. Brown chicken over high heat on all sides. Turn chicken breast side up and add onion, garlic, diced green chiles and chicken broth to the pot (I like those packets of chicken stock base now widely available). Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Remove chicken from pot and cover with foil. Mix corn starch with water to make a slurry (a sludgy mixture of starch and water). Pour into the pan juices, while whisking, to thicken gravy. Whisk in sour cream and simmer, over low heat for 3 minutes. Cut chicken into parts and serve with gravy over rice.


Anonymous said...

OH MY GOSH........I cooked this tonight!!! As Anne of Green Gables would say, we are kindred spirts"!

Laurie said...

Alison, I am SO glad I discovered Kaela, thanks to your blog. I'd been thinking about a makeover for a while and then my friend Candy send me a link to your blog because she thought I would love it.

I did - both for the content and the design.

So thank you for cluing me in to Kaela by having her icon on your site. I told her to put it on mine too because I want to spread the word.

Your chicken looks awesome. My husband and teenage daughter would especially love this one.

Your experiences cooking with kids simply cracked me up. Been there, smiling through clenched teeth, many, many times...