Failed kitchen experiments and culinary hacks.

Whole Roasted Chicken with Potatoes

03 Mar 2010

An auspicious end and also a new beginning (as dinner) #1

After many sacrificial birds and a household disdain for weekday recipes over an hour, I've managed to get this one completely nailed.  Playing with a kitchen timer and my trusty Le Creuset in the quest for a perfect balance between flavor, crispy skin and juicy chicken, I came to the realization that while roasting a whole chicken at lower temperatures yields excellent results, the time it takes pushes into dangerously low-blood-sugar levels on weeknights.  In an attempt at keeping myself and the people around me sane, cranking up the nuclear option also happened to yield a perfect bird and veggies in about half of the time without worry of sending myself and my fellow diners to the hospital from either crankiness or salmonella.  While setting the oven to 500° F sets off all of the smoke alarms in my apartment and drives the dog insane without even putting anything in the oven, the results are well worth it. Although remember to always check your bird's temp - for chicken, a thermometer inserted deep into the thigh and/or the thickest part of the breast should read 165° F minimum according to USDA guidelines.

Ingredients
  • 1 whole chicken, about 4 lbs.
  • 2 lemon quarters
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, 2 whole, 4 minced
  • 8 largish new potatoes, halved
  • 4 large carrots, cut in 3-in. pieces along the bias
  • 4 shallots, halved
  • Salt and pepper
Method
  1. Set oven to kill, or if your oven does not have that setting, place a sticker saying "kill" at the 500° F marker. Place potatoes, carrots and shallots in the bottom of a dutch oven.
  2. Place the butter in a small dish and microwave for 20-30 seconds until melted. Gah! I know. Combine with the 2 tbsp. olive oil. Finely mince the leaves of one sprig each of rosemary and thyme and add to the butter/olive oil mixture along with the minced garlic.
  3. Time to roll up your sleeves. Wash your bird and pat dry. Using your fingers, gently separate the skin from the flesh on the breasts and thighs to create pockets, being careful not to tear the skin. Once that is done, stuff the butter/olive oil/herb mixture into the pockets. This will allow the flavors to permeate the chicken and keep the garlic from burning at the high temperatures. Stuff the remaining rosemary, thyme, garlic cloves and lemon quarters into the chicken cavity.
  4. Salt and pepper the chicken and then tie up that bird up like Julia taught you how to do. Place the chicken breast side down in the dutch oven and place in the oven.
  5. Roast for 30 minutes, then using giant tongs, take the bird out, stir the veggies in the bottom of the pot and place the chicken back in the pot breast side up. Roast another 30 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temp of 165°. Remove from heat and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Carve and serve alongside spinach or broccoli rabe sauteed with olive oil, garlic and red pepper to round out the meal.