A roast chicken is the perfect main course any time of the year, but especially (in my opinion), during the cooler months when you don’t mind having the oven on. This is delicious, moist and the tarragon smells so good while the chicken is cooking. If you don’t need or want a big turkey for Thanksgiving, this would be perfect for a smaller, more intimate meal. Spaghetti squash is a tasty alternative to the usual potatoes or rice and requires very little work. We rounded out the meal with broccoli because it was the least expensive green vegetable at the grocery store that day. The entire meal; consisting of the chicken, gravy, squash and broccoli, cost exactly ten dollars for a family of four. *I sent out a message on Facebook a couple of weeks ago saying Albertsons had their whole chickens on sale for 88 cents a pound…this is when I bought my chicken.
TARRAGON-STUFFED CHICKEN WITH BRANDY PAN GRAVY-
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Serves: 4 for approx $5.61
- 1 3 lb chicken
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 fresh tarragon sprigs
- 5 fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley sprigs
BRANDY PAN GRAVY…
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flor
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
- 2 tablespoons brandy (you can omit this without changing the amount of other ingredients)
- salt and freshly ground pepper to season
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Remove the giblets from the chicken’s cavity and reserve for another use. Rub the outside of the chicken with butter, then gently loosen the skin and slide some butter under the meat to coat evenly. Sprinkle the outside and the cavity with the salt and pepper, and place the tarragon and parsley in the cavity. Tie the legs together with kitchen string, if desired. Put the chicken, breast side up, in a roasting pan.
Roast for 15-20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh away from the bone registers 170 degrees, about 45 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the chicken to a carving board and tent with aluminum foil.
To make the gravy, pour the pan juices into a saucepan and skim off the fat, reserving about 2 tablespoons. Return the 2 tablespoons to the roasting pan, sprinkle the bottom of the pan with the flour, place on the stove top over low heat, and scrape the bottom to loosen the browned bits. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth, about 5 minutes. Gradually stir in the pan juices, chicken stock, parsley, and tarragon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Add the brandy, if using, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.
Carve the chicken and serve with gravy.
ROASTED SPAGHETTI SQUASH-
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes
Serves: 4 for approx $2.99
- 1 (about 2 lb) spaghetti squash
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. *If you’re cooking this with the chicken, the temps are the same). Rinse the squash and pat dry. With a sharp knife, cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a large spoon and drizzle about 1 teaspoon olive oil onto each half. Spread the olive oil around using your finger or a brush. Add salt and pepper.
Lightly oil a baking pan or cookie sheet with olive oil and place spaghetti squash halves face down (so the cut side is facing the bottom).
Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes or until tender. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes.
When the squash is cool enough to handle, pull the tines of a fork lengthwise down the cut side of the squash, loosening the strands of the flesh. Remove the strands as they are loosened and transfer to a bowl. Crape till you reach the rind so all the strands are removed. Serve along with the chicken and broccoli.
FOR THE BROCCOLI
We used about 1 pound of broccoli crowns and cooked in the microwave with 1 teaspoon water, on high about 3-4 minutes or until tender. The broccoli was on sale for $1.29 a pound, and we spent $1.40.