Mighty Mandarin Orange and Bacon Roasted Chicken with Herbed Mushrooms and Homemade Gravy

By Michael Harris-Arzon, The Simplistic Professional

Even in families where the primary cook has a large repertoire of dishes they are able to make well, there seems to always be a few that get asked for more often than others. I make so many different things that our household is built upon a meal foundation of waves.

One of the kids or Danny will think of something they love, that we haven’t had in quite a while and all of a sudden I find myself preparing it once a week for the next couple of months. I think at times, that having such a large family recipe box, has its disadvantages. Because there is truth to the old saying about having too much of a good thing.

Launching the Simply Ardynn Brand has been a lifesaver in a sense. I don’t find myself getting stuck in rut when it comes to cooking. I have rediscovered and even share my passion for food.

Ingredients

  • 1 Large Roasting Chicken
  • 1 Can Mandarin Orange Slices
  • 1 Lb. Applewood Smoked Bacon
  • 2 Cups Button Mushrooms
  • 1 Tbs. Butter, Salted
  • 1 Tbs. Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbs. Fresh Thyme
  • 2 Tbs. Fresh Chives, Chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Sliced Thin
  • 1 Tbs. Fresh Rosemary, Chopped Fine
  • 3 Tbs. Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbs. Cornstarch
  • 1/2 Cup Cold, Whole Milk

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Prepare your, whole, roasting chicken by removing the bag containing the neck and gizzards (set aside in the refrigerator for use in making gravy). Then, rinse thoroughly with cool water and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Place your chicken (breast side up) into a lightly greased roasting pan, preferably one with a lid. Cooking Tip: Avoid using foil to cover whole birds or large roasts when roasting meats. The foil tends to touch the surface of the meat and causes uneven roasting and even burn marks. Set to the side momentarily.
  4. Take your button mushrooms and rinse them thoroughly with cool water. Be sure to gently rub the button tops with your thumb to remove any excess manure. Cooking Tip: Mushrooms are not grown in dirt, but piles of pure manure, so you want to be sure to clean them well.
  5. After rinsing your mushrooms, gently dry each one with a paper towel. Cut each one in half and place into a small bowl.
  6. Take your applewood smoked bacon slices and cut them in half. Set aside half a pound of bacon slices and then proceed to cut the rest of your bacon slices into one inch pieces.
  7. In a large skillet, add your tbs. of olive oil and tbs. of butter. Melt over medium-high heat. Add your one inch bacon pieces and start to brown them. Be sure to use a fork and separate the pieces and keep them moving around the pan for even browning. After 5 minutes, add your thinly, sliced garlic cloves, 1 tbs. of cracked black pepper, fresh thyme and your mushroom halves.
  8. With a wooden spoon continue stirring and cooking for another 3 minutes or so. The bacon should still be translucent and chewy. The mushrooms will just have started to take on a wilted look. You don’t want to completely cook them through, as they will continue cooking once stuffed into the center of the bird. Drain your bacon and mushrooms onto a plate covered in a few layers of paper towels.
  9. Next, place your roasting pan with your chicken in it on your cutting board. Be sure that the empty cavity is facing you. Take your index finger and loosen the skin from the breast meat, on either side of your breast plate, as far down to the tail bone as you can get. This allows space for you to stuff under the skin. Be careful not to tear holes in the skin.
  10. Once the skin is loosened, then take half of your mandarin orange slices and stuff under the skin on top of the left breast, repeat on the other breast. Then, take half of the bacon slices that you have left and lay them on top of the mandarin orange slices under the skin on the left breast. Repeat this process for the right breast.
  11. Now that you have stuffed between the breast and the skin, it will look lumpy so just pat it down very gently to smooth out the surface (be careful not to puncture the orange slices and release the juice) and remove any large air pockets. Cooking Tip: By placing a source of fat, in this case bacon, under the skin of your bird, you are basically ensuring that it stays moist while delivering massive amounts of flavor. Many people use salted butter that they have combined with herbs (called compound butter).
  12. Take your mushroom, bacon and herb mixture and, using a large wooden spoon, stuff the cavity of your chicken. Be sure to use all of the stuffing, allowing any excess to pop out if necessary.
  13. Sprinkle your remaining, cracked black pepper, fresh rosemary and chives over the surface of your chicken and cover with the lid to your roasting pan.
  14. Roast on the center rack of your oven for 45 minutes to an hour, until a nice golden brown color. With a large spoon or baster, baste your chicken every 15 minutes or so to keep it moist and allow for even browning. Cooking Tip: Whole birds will register 165 degrees on the meat thermometer when inserted between the drumstick and body of the bird.
  15. Remove from the oven, baste one last time. Remove half of the jus (French for juice or drippings) to a small bowl, and let rest for at least 15 minutes before carving to serve.
  16. Take the gizzards (the heart, liver and kidneys) and neck bone out of the refrigerator. Chop the gizzards into medium size pieces.
  17. In a medium sauce pan, melt 3 tbs. of butter over medium-high heat. Add the neck bone and chopped gizzards, then fry until your meat is nice and browned (IGNORE THE SMELL.. as the finished taste will be amazing). Add the jus that you set aside in a small bowl and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 3-5 minutes. With a pair of tongs, remove the neck bone and discard.
  18. Take a large soup spoon and skim off the excess bacon and chicken fats.
  19. In a small cup, add your 2 tbs. of cornstarch and half cup of cold milk. Mix together well with a small spoon to create a cornstarch slurry.
  20. While whisking your broth vigorously with a small wire whisk, pour your cornstarch slurry into the center of your sauce pan. Add a pinch of cracked, assorted peppercorns to your gravy while continuously whisking over medium heat, until your desired consistency has been reached. Immediately remove your gravy from the heat and pour into a gravy boat.
  21. Now, you are ready to place onto a nice serving platter with your accoutrements and carve table side for all of your friends and family to oooh and ahhh over.
  22. Enjoy, this sweet and salty, roasted masterpiece with your favorite veggies, mashed potatoes and side salad. Sunday Dinner can’t get any better than this!
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