Yesterday I made a roasted chicken with Dijon mustard and I shared on Instagram the situation regarding food here in Colorado which, I am sure, is very similar across the country and around the world right now, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I’m not sure how it is where you are, but here, since the state of Colorado has issued shelter in place orders, we’re advised to only shop for groceries every other week. For someone who used to shop daily, this has been a bit of a learning experience. It’s okay, we’re getting along just fine and I’m always up for a challenge, but add to that the fact that stores are limiting what and how much we can buy, it makes shopping for two weeks especially puzzling. Currently we’re allowed just two chicken products and two beef products per family. If we’re lucky there might be some pork behind the butcher’s counter, but for the most part, the shelves in the markets are bare, especially of pantry staples like beans, rice, flour and sugar, and I haven’t seen eggs in stock for weeks. Thankfully, fresh fruit and vegetables have been plentiful.
Please don’t think I’m complaining. I understand the rational behind this decision as they try to make sure there’s enough to go around while preventing food-hoarding which I believe is the real problem. Is food-hoarding strictly an American problem?
None of this will last forever but I’m worried for people with larger families or for those who are shopping for multiple families and friends who cannot go out and shop for themselves. The restrictions have forced me to become extra creative with my meal plans, thinking weeks ahead instead of just days. One of the benefits that I think will come out of this is that we all will become more savvy cooks. I try to buy the things that will stretch the furthest. A whole chicken versus chicken breast, for example. Nose to tail eating and the philosophy of waste-not-want-not has never been more pertinent. For my very ravenous family of four, I can get three full meals out of one chicken. I’ll roast the chicken whole for the first meal, make a chicken casserole for the next, and finish with a big pot of chicken soup.
I love to roast a whole chicken on Sundays for a late lunch or early dinner. It feels decadent in times of scarcity, and family meals around the table feel even more precious now. This weekend I made a very simple Dijon mustard rub out of pantry staples and dried herbs which I used to season the chicken. In the same roasting pan, I cooked sweet, golden potatoes, pricked with a fork so that they absorbed the flavors of the chicken and mustard. After cooking, I mashed them, skin and all, with butter and milk. It’s a delicious and easy twist on traditional mashed potatoes. With the remaining pan juices, I made a velvety gravy to go over the top of everything.
With the leftovers I will make another one of our favourite dishes – Smothered Chicken & Green Chile Burritos. This is so simple, I don’t even have a proper recipe. Simply chop an onion and cook it in olive oil until soft. Add a few minced cloves of garlic, a teaspoon of ground cumin and cook a few minutes longer. Add one can or box of cream of mushroom soup. I use Pacific Foods Organic Cream of Mushroom Condensed Soup, 12oz, 12-pack. Fill the empty can or box halfway with water and stir this in along with a small can of diced green chiles. Pull the leftover chicken from the bones, chop it and add to the pan. Cook until bubbly. Lightly butter a 13×9-inch baking dish. Using a slotted spoon, divide the chicken mixture evenly between six flour tortillas, leaving some of the sauce in the pan to pour over top at the end. Sprinkle a little grated cheese (Cheddar or a Mexican blend) over the filling and roll the tortillas burrito-style. Place them side-by-side in the baking dish. Pour over any sauce that’s left in the pan and top with more cheese. Bake at 375F/190C for 12 – 15 minutes until bubbly and the cheese starts to brown.
I also love to use the leftovers to make Ina Garten’s Chicken and Biscuit Stew, which I make at least once a month. Or I might make a chicken pot pie or quesadillas with chicken and black beans.
For the third meal I make a hearty chicken soup with the bones. You could make chicken and rice soup, or chicken and corn chowder, but my kids love a very simple chicken noodle soup. I use these egg noodles – Mrs. Millers Old Fashioned Medium Noodles 16oz. Bag (2 Bags) – but you can use any that are available where you live. The recipe below is super easy, again made with staples that are always in my pantry or fridge. It highlights the flavour of the chicken and the sweetness of the carrots.
I hope that you are doing well and finding all that you need in the grocery stores and markets during this difficult time.
Dijon Mustard Roasted Chicken with Roasted Mashed Potatoes
1 (5lb.) whole chicken
2 TBSP Dijon mustard (I use Maille Dijon Originale Traditional Dijon Mustard — 7.5 oz (pack of 2)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp dry rosemary
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 lemon, zested and cut in half
2 whole cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 pounds gold potatoes (2-inches in size)
4 TBSP unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk (more if needed)
salt and fresh cracked pepper
1 TBSP flour
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
Rinse the chicken in cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
Mix together the mustard, olive oil, rosemary, garlic powder, 1 tsp of lemon zest, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Rub the mixture all over the chicken, including inside the cavity and underneath the skin of the breasts. Cut the remaining lemon in half and place in the cavity of the chicken, along with the smashed garlic cloves and bay leaf. Place the chicken in a large cast-iron skillet or flame-proof roasting pan and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to absorb all the flavours.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 F (190C) (convection roast setting, if possible, but not necessary.)
Clean the potatoes and prick each one a few times with a fork. Place in the pan with the chicken and sprinkle with salt.
Roast the chicken and potatoes for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or longer if necessary, until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the thigh registers 180 F (82C). If the chicken begins to brown too quickly, cover the breasts with foil.
Remove the chicken to a carving board and cover with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes.
While the chicken rests, heat the butter and milk in a large sauce pan until simmering, add half a teaspoon of salt. Transfer the potatoes from the roasting pan into the milk. Mash with a potato masher. Don’t worry about the potato skin. If the mixture seems too dry add a bit more milk. Taste for seasoning and add salt or pepper if necessary. Spoon into a serving bowl, cover and keep warm until ready to serve.
To make the gravy, place the roasting pan with all the juices on the stove over medium heat. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk until smooth. Cook for a minute and then whisk in the chicken broth. Cook, whisking constantly, until bubbly and thick, about 5 minutes.
Strain the gravy through a sieve into a serving boat.
Carve the chicken and place on a serving platter. Pour a little gravy over the chicken and serve the rest at the table with the mashed potatoes.
Chicken Noodle Soup
1 leftover chicken carcass (bones and any remaining meat)
water, to cover
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
7 – 8 carrots, peeled, divided
4 stalks of celery, divided
1 large onion, cut in half, divided
3 cloves garlic
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP flour
1 TBSP chicken base (I use Better Than Bouillon Organic Chicken Base, Reduced Sodium – 16 oz)
10 oz. egg noodles
salt and pepper, to taste
Place the chicken carcass in a large soup pot. Cover with cold water, two to three inches above the top of the chicken. Add the vinegar, bay, peppercorns and a generous pinch of salt. Cut two of the peeled carrots into 2-3-inch pieces and add to the pot. Cut two stalks of the celery and half the onion into similarly sized pieces and add to the pot. Cover and bring to a simmer. As the pot begins to boil, foam will form on the surface. Carefully skim this off with a spoon and discard. Once all the foam has been skimmed, cover and turn the heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, chop the remaining carrots, celery, garlic and onion. Set aside.
After 1 hour, strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve set over a large, heat-proof bowl or pot. Set aside both the chicken bones and the broth.
To the first pot add the butter and chopped vegetables. Place back on the heat and cook until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 – 10 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute longer. Pour in the broth and add the bouillon. Stir well and bring back to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
When the chicken is cool enough to touch, pull any remaining meat from the bones and add to the soup. Add the noodles and cook the soup for 5 – 10 minutes longer, depending on the cook time indicated on the package. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and fresh ground pepper if necessary.