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  • Writer's pictureRhonda Morrison

Oven roasted: almost like Mom made

Pan-Seared Oven Roasted Chicken recipe and Roasted Red Potatoes recipe

I grew up in a cooking home. We only dined out on special occasions. My mother had every day planned out with a different meal. Sunday’s big meal was lunch after church. Mom would typically roast something in the oven. I remember her prepping chicken to roast while wearing her slip and slippers with curlers in her hair. When we would return home from church, lunch was ready.

Pan searing before roasting gives the meat a beautiful texture and color on the outside.

I am still a fan of oven roasting. I roast both meats and vegetables. Root vegetables such as beets, potatoes, and carrots become sweeter as they lightly caramelize in the oven. Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and cabbage become tender on the inside with a crispy exterior. Oven roasting hearty greens such as kale or endive is trendy foodie fare right now. This is also an easy way to cook gourds like spaghetti squash, zucchini, and butternut squash.

But when it comes to roasting meats, I almost always give it a pan sear before slow roasting to perfection in the oven. Pan searing before roasting gives the meat a beautiful texture and color on the outside. Roasting without pan-searing can cause the meat to develop a tough exterior. Putting cold meat in the oven to cook also has a longer cook time. Then there is also the wonderful pan-seared flavor and a juicier interior that we all clamor for.

My approach to roasting chicken is a little different from Mom’s. Aside from being fully dressed, I like to use a large skillet to sear it off and lock in the juices. Then I place that same skillet in the oven for two hours or until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 165 degrees. I flatten out the chicken by cutting out the backbone and cutting through the sternum. Use whatever flavors or marinades your guests like and serve up a perfect pan-seared oven-roasted chicken for any occasion. Serve that chicken alongside roasted red potatoes and a simple salad to make mealtime a breeze.

Pan-Seared Oven Roasted Chicken 4 to 5 lb. whole chicken 6 cloves garlic, smashed 2 tbsp. bacon grease 14 oz. diced canned tomatoes 2 tbsp. chopped parsley 4 to 6 sprigs of fresh thyme 1 hatch chile pepper Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Prep chicken by removing the backbone and cutting through the sternum causing the chicken to lay out flat. Season chicken with salt and pepper all over and under the skin. Place a clove of garlic under the skin of each thigh. Place remaining garlic under the skin of the breasts. Insert thyme under the skin of the breasts. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add bacon grease. Place chicken skin side down in the skillet for 5 to 7 minutes until browned. Flip chicken to skin side up and cover with diced tomatoes. Slice chile pepper in half lengthwise, remove seeds and insert in the pan along the sides of the chicken. Loosely cover the skillet with parchment paper or foil. Place in the oven for 1 ½ to 2 hours depending on the size of the chicken or until the thighs reach 165 degrees. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Roasted Red Potatoes 2 lb. small red potatoes 1 white onion 1 hatch chile pepper 2 tbsp. bacon grease 5 slices crumbled cooked bacon 2 tbsp. fresh thyme Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Quarter red potatoes. Coarsely chop the onion. Slice chile pepper into rings. Toss potatoes, pepper rings, and onion in bacon grease, salt, and pepper. Layer potatoes, onion, and pepper rings evenly onto a baking sheet. Place in the oven for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender and browned flipping the vegetables halfway through cook time. Place vegetables in a bowl and toss with half the bacon. Top with remaining bacon and thyme.

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