Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Sunday Night Whole Roasted Chicken

I don't know why a roasted chicken makes me think of Sunday night dinners. Maybe Norman Rockwell covers from the Life magazines of my childhood are imprinted deeply in my mind. Maybe I heard the phrase "A chicken in every pot..." too many times as I was growing up. Maybe it's because when I was very, very little my mother raised chickens and we ate a lot of chicken. At any rate, when I get a craving for roasted chicken, it's usually on a Sunday.

I wrote a roasted chicken post way back here and forgot to take a photo. Being a smarter blogger now than I was back then, this time I had my camera ready.

This is about as easy as cooking gets. Everything goes into the pot and into the oven. The herb and smoked paprika coating on this bird lifts an ordinary roasted chicken to new heights. The cooking process results in luscious pan juices and very juicy breast meat. Don't forget to baste toward the end of the cooking time.

Sunday Night Whole Roasted Chicken
Christine's original recipe
1 whole fryer chicken, 3-4 pounds
1 large Meyer lemon
1 heaping tablespoon Italian herb seasoning
1 tablespoon smoked paprika, I used sweet but if you like it spicy, go for it
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 large sweet onion, sliced
1 head of garlic, separated into cloves, peeled and left whole
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Olive oil
Remove the giblets from the cavity of the chicken. (Reserve the giblets for another use or cook them with the chicken. Or fry 'em up, chop 'em and give 'em to your kitties.)
Wash the chicken thoroughly with cold water then pat dry both inside and out.
Rub olive oil over the entire chicken then rub the Italian herbs and the paprika all over the outside.
Slice the lemon in half and squeeze over the chicken. Put the lemons halves inside the cavity.
Sprinkle the chicken body with kosher salt and black pepper.

Truss the chicken by cutting a slit in each side of the vent, then bring a leg across and push the end through the opposite slit. Repeat with the other leg.
Place the sliced onions in the bottom of a cast iron pot or dutch oven and put the chicken on top of the onions.
Scatter the garlic cloves and the mushrooms around the chicken. Drizzle a little more olive oil over the top of the vegetables, cover with a tight fitting lid and place in a 375-degree oven for 45 minutes.
Remove the lid from the pot and continue roasting the chicken another 15 minutes or so, until done. Baste the chicken with the pan juices several times during these last 15 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the pan and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

To serve, slice the chicken and place on warmed plates. Be generous with the garlic and onions, as well as the delicious pan juices. A medley of roasted winter vegetables makes a well rounded meal.

Cook's Notes:
No potatoes, polenta or pasta accompanied our meal but if I were to serve this to company, oven roasted potatoes, creamy polenta or pappardelle pasta would be a nice touch.

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