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« Food Rules | Main | Sunday Morning Breakfast »

"What do you do with a whole chicken?"

Recently I was picking through a pile of organic chickens at my local market. A well dressed young woman approached me and said “Excuse me. What do you do with a whole chicken? I usually just buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts.” 

Momentarily speechless I pondered my answer. What a pity it is that plump, juicy chickens are reduced to a mass of relatively tasteless  (and expensive) parts, instead of being cooked with their bones and skin which imparts so much more flavor.

There are dozens of ways to cook a whole chicken, of course. Using a 4-4.5# chicken, this method nets us several meals, snacks and a small batch of chicken stock. 

Swiss chard from the garden, butternut squash with apples & onions & the seasoned chicken. The bread was made from a recipe in the book "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day," Hertzberg & Francois book!



Crisp and juicy, whole roast chicken. 

Whole Roast Chicken

1 - 4 - 4.5# whole chicken, giblets removed (save for another use!)

1 tsp Kosher salt

1/2 tsp chile flakes

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a large saute pan with a heat proof handle in the oven. 

Wash the chicken throughly in cold water & pat very dry. Carefully loosen the skin the breasts & sprinkle some of the salt and pepper mixture under the skin. Rub the remaining salt and pepper mixture all over the chicken. Do this one day ahead if you have time. If you are short of time, season the chicken an hour before cooking.

When the oven is heated,place the chicken, breast down in the hot pan. It should sizzle and pop. Bake for 35 minutes. Turn the chicken over, using tongs & bake an additional 20-30 minutes. (Depending on the size of your chicken you may have to reduce cooking time if you have been lucky enough to find a smallish chicken or increase the time if the bird is larger.)  There is a distinct aroma when the chicken is done, which is quite rich and full. Your kitchen should smell like Thanksgiving!  Read this discussion on the appropriate temperature of a properly cooked chicken:

Following this method your chicken will be cooked through, moist, juicy & the skin crispy brown. 

Weekday dinner.

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Reader Comments (1)

I have printed this out for future reference. Thanks so much for sharing!

February 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterM. Kidd

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