I checked out what I would pay for this at the same place as I bought the whole chicken in my freezer. It almost comes out even, except that the store wants you to feed 8 people on one chicken and it doesn't say what weight the chicken is. Now, that's not really a bad thing because the meal includes sides, salad and bread so even if each person only gets 1/8 chicken, that's a reasonable meal size unless you insist on making your guests fat. It costs extra for soup and appetizer and dessert.
Here's the DIY version.
Make your bread in the morning.
Set up your appetizer dish: pickled cucumber, olive, onion, artichoke hearts, and beets. Optional fish in wine sauce or rolled up slices of hard salami.
Make your dessert while the oven is hot from the bread.
1 raw chicken, whole, cleaned (giblets might be in it)
1 TBSP parsley
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp tarragon
1/2 tsp chives
Rub or sprinkle outside of chicken with seasonings, place in roaster and put in 450 degree oven.
The same vegetables as last week's meatloaf: 1 small white potato or half a large russet or 1/2 sweet potato per person, 1/2 carrot each (unless you're using sweet potatoes and then substitute 1/2 turnip), 1/2 stalk celery each, mushroom caps.
If you got giblets, then make a roux as I taught you, add the giblets and a slice leek, a bay leaf, a pinch thyme, and a cup and a half water. Set the burner to 2, cover and let simmer simmer simmer. Stir once in a while.
When the chicken has been roasting 30 minutes, put in the vegetables, then cover again and put back in the oven.
Make your salad and put in the fridge.
At the 45 minute point, pour 1/2 cup wine or sherry into the roaster and swirl it around to get the drippings off. This is called "deglazing the pan." Pour half of this in with your gravy in the saucepan, cover, and keep simmering.
Put the vegetables on a heavy china serving plate. Take the breast meat off and put on top of the vegetables. Add the thigh meat. Leave the skin on the meat to keep it from drying out. Cover the dish closely with aluminum foil, turn the oven down to 200 and put the dish in it.
Then put the wings, drumsticks and the rest of the carcass, along with the other half of the drippings, in a soup pot with two cups of water, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp onion powder. If you want parsley floating in it, add a pinch. Bring to a boil, then simmer half an hour covered. This will make a clear soup in which you can float croutons or oyster crackers. If you want vegetables in it, add the roasted celery and carrot or turnip.
Check your gravy. If it's too liquid, tilt the lid of the pan a bit, which makes a vent through which the juices will boil off a little. If it's too thick, add a little water, stir thoroughly, and put the lid on straight.
Now set your table and make sure you put a ceramic plate in the middle for the hot serving plate of chicken and vegetables. Or else let everybody serve themselves in the kitchen.
Put the salad and dressing in the middle with the basket of sliced bread next to it and get started.
Serve the soup piping hot after fifteen minutes.
Bring out the entree and add a tureen full of the gravy.
Then serve your dessert.
If you think it's overkill to have both gravy and soup, well, don't serve the soup to your guests. Serve dinner while the soup simmers instead of waiting for the soup to cook. You can add noodles, peas, corn, etc. and take this and some of your bread to work for lunch. It should be at least 3 servings of soup.
This gives you a six-serving five-course dinner, or four courses plus 3 to 4 lunches for work.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved