Tonight I had family dinner at Donna’s house. I have been having family dinner with her since I met her back in high school (a lifetime ago) and I still try to get over to her parents’ house at least once each trip I take home to Wisconsin.
This time my trip home was for her father’s funeral – he passed away on September 20 after a two and a half year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. This was my first dinner at Donna’s parents’ house without her father, Bud. It went unspoken at the dinner table tonight but family dinner (and obviously life too) is not the same without Bud. There’s just something missing.
As Bud would have wanted, I brought Apple Pie for dessert. For dinner, Benny’s sister-in-law, Mary Ellen, made her favorite dish to have on a cold winter’s day. It was the perfect smell to walk into from outside on this cloudy and somewhat chilly fall day. We had fresh bread and butter and, as always, water was served in a pewter pitcher.
- 1 whole chicken (Purdue oven roaster, if available), cavity removed
- bouillon or chicken base
- salt and pepper
- garlic salt
- baby carrots
- sliced onions
- new potatoes, quartered
- fresh sliced mushrooms
- frozen green beans
- Put salt in the chicken cavity and soak the chicken in salt water for 30 minutes. Rinse off and pat dry.
- Place chicken in a roasting pan. Season the cavity with salt and pepper. Add water and chicken base or bouillon to the bottom of the pan. Season the outside of the chicken with garlic salt, salt and pepper. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and add carrots, potatoes and onions to the bottom of the pan. Add more chicken bouillon water, if needed. Tent the pan with tin foil and cook for another hour. After about 30 minutes remove the pan from the oven and add mushrooms and beans. Tent the pan, put back in the oven and resume cooking.
The recipe sounds a bit complicated to me (only because I’ve never roasted a chicken) but Mary Ellen swears it’s a snap and I believe her. I plan to try this recipe soon – on some damp Portland day. She let me sample the veggies while they were roasting and the chicken while she was carving it (that’s what happens if you hang out in the kitchen long enough while dinner is being prepared) so I knew before dinner was served that once again I would have a family dinner to remember.