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Winner Winner Whole Chicken Dinner

January 9, 2011

Whole chicken. What a wonderful thing. So far with each of our meat CSA deliveries we have gotten a whole chicken. While I know it is perfectly acceptable to break down a whole chicken while raw and do other things with it, I always feel as if I need to make an event out of it and cook the chicken whole.

Chicken #1 went to Tyler Florence’s Chicken and Dumplings with Chive & Buttermilk Dumplings. Unfortunately, not as epic as I had hoped. This time was an instance of “follow the recipe to a T” syndrome – and afterwards I really wished I had followed my gut. It was delicious but the dumplings needed something, they just weren’t what I was hoping for. The plus side was lots of left over stock!

Chicken #2 had to be epic since round 1 was less than repeatable. This time I decided to go for the classic – whole roasted chicken. After scouring recipes for the best methods, I was able to create…… A TOTAL SUCCESS. Epic Whole Chicken Dinner, check.

Ingredients:

1 3-4lb whole chicken
1 whole garlic head, all cloves peeled and left whole
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 whole sprigs of rosemary 
1 spring worth of rosemary, pulled off the stem and given a rough chop 
4 Tbs butter, room temp
Salt
Pepper 

Various root vegetables for roasting – as many as you wish
Onion
Parsnips
Carrots
Brussel Sprouts
Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes 

Several hours before you plan on cooking the chicken (or the night before if you think about it… the longer the better), rinse the chicken off, pat dry, and rub generously with a mixture of salt and black pepper all over the skin and inside the cavity. Cover chicken and return to the fridge until you are ready to cook. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and remove the chicken from the fridge. Drain off any liquid that may have accumulated in the chicken cavity, and pat the outside dry once again. Inside the cavity place all cloves from the head of garlic and 3 springs of rosemary. In a small bowl combine crushed garlic, chopped rosemary, butter, salt and pepper. At the bottom of the chicken breast, near the cavity, you should be able to get underneath the skin. Take 1/2 of the butter mixture and smear it underneath the skin on each breast. Take 1/4 of the mixture and spread it all over the skin of the chicken. You should have 1/4 left which will be used later. Place the chicken breast side down in a roasting pan, into the oven for 45 minutes.

While the chicken is roasting, peel and chop your roasting vegetables. Give them a quick toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. After 45 minutes pull out the chicken, lift up with tongs, and pour all your veggies in the bottom of the roasting pan. Flip the chicken over breast side up, and place back in the roasting pan. Spread the remaining 1/4 butter mixture over the top of the chicken, and place back in the oven for another 45 minutes. Once finished let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting into it.

The skin will be beautifully crispy, meat wonderfully tender, and veggies deliciously caramelized. 

It doesn’t get much better than that. 

Enjoy!

(OH and dont forget to save those lovely chicken bones and cavity filling garlic cloves for an amazing stock later!)

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