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CHEF'S CORNER

 
. . . and a Chicken in Every Pot
By Angelo DeCecco

 

It seems that almost everyone has a car in his garage (or even two!) but who has a chicken in his pot these days?! Almost no one, and I think that is a shame! Frankly, there is nothing like a whole roasted chicken. In Germany, at many stores and at every fest, you can find a mobile chicken roaster who for about $5 sells a great roasted chicken cooked on a rotisserie in the back of his cleverly adapted truck.
 
Those of us without a rotisserie built into the back of our SUV have to come up with another option if we want to sink our teeth into whole chicken nirvana. Many would have you believe that roasted chicken is a difficult dish to make, but it is really very simple indeed, and offers almost endless variety for a very reasonable price. All it takes is a bit of time in the oven, precious little preparation time, and a little bit of know how for an absolutely scrumptious dinner. The chicken combinations are endless, and if you keep reading, I'm going to supply the know-how... And for those of you who might be afraid of your oven (the guys among you, for instance) roasting a chicken on your grill is very simple and just as delicious.
 
From the front lines of good food,
 
Angelo
 
Roasted Chicken Variations - Serves 6
 
Roasting chicken on the grill or in the oven is easy and offers lots of variety
 



 

Basic Ingredients:
 

  • 1 3-4 pound whole chicken

  • Salt and pepper

  • Olive oil

  • Chicken stock

  • White wine

  • Herbs such as sage, rosemary, thyme, tarragon, bay

  • Roasting vegetables such as onions, potatoes and carrots

  • Garlic

  •  
    Basic Preparation:
     
    Rinse the chicken inside and out, and pat dry. Rub the outside of the chicken with salt, pepper, a halved garlic clove, and olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper in the cavity, and stuff the chicken with your choice of herbs, vegetables, and garlic. Add about 1/2 cup of white wine and 1 cup of chicken broth to the pan. Roast as directed below. See the recipes below for tasty variations!
     
    Experiment with roasting the chicken in a 350-degree oven in a roasting pan or in a covered Dutch oven, or, roast the chicken on a charcoal grill. Cook the chicken for about 1 hour in the oven or 90 minutes on the grill, until the inside temperature, taken in the meaty part of the breast is 175 degrees, or until the juice runs clear when you pierce the breast with a fork. A stuffed bird will require a longer time to roast than an unstuffed bird. Add additional chicken broth and a little white wine if necessary while roasting.
     
    When roasting with a charcoal grill, heat the coals in a separate chimney, or if you heat them in the grill, push the hot coals to the sides of the grill, leaving a space in the middle large enough for the pan. Cover the roasting pan inside and out in aluminum foil. Start the chicken by placing it in the pan breast-side down and cover with foil. Place the pan in the grill, and pour the hot coals around the chicken. After about five minutes, uncover the chicken. After about 30 minutes, use two sets of tongs to turn the chicken over. Continue roasting, breast side up, until done.
     
    Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic
     
    This recipe is particularly good when cooked in a covered Dutch oven!
     


     

    Rinse the chicken inside and out, and pat dry. Rub the outside of the chicken with salt, pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of thyme, and olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper in the chicken cavity, and stuff with the peeled cloves of one head of garlic, an additional 1/2 teaspoon of thyme, and one bay leaf. Place the chicken in a roasting pan. Distribute the peeled cloves of another head of garlic around the chicken. Add about 1/2 cup of white wine and 1 cup of chicken broth to the pan. Roast as directed above.
     
    For a delicious accompaniment, remove the garlic cloves from the pan and spread them on slices of good crusty bread, such as a baguette or ciabatta.
     
    Roast Chicken with Lemon and Herbs
     


     

    Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry. Rub the outside of the chicken with salt, pepper, herbs de Provence, a halved garlic clove, and olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper in the chicken cavity, and stuff with a sliced lemon and 8 fresh chopped sage leaves. Place the chicken in a roasting pan. Add about 1/2 cup of white wine and 1 cup of chicken broth to the pan. Distribute slices from another half of a lemon and additional sage leaves in the pan. Roast as directed above.
     
    Roast Chicken with Mixed Herbs
     
    Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry. With a very sharp paring knife, carefully cut under the skin, to loosen the skin from the meat. Work whole sage leaves and very thin garlic slices under the skin at various places around the chicken. Rub the outside of the chicken with salt, pepper, a halved garlic clove, and olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper in the chicken cavity, and stuff with fresh sage leaves, sprigs of rosemary, and other herbs such as thyme, parsley, and tarragon. Place the chicken in a roasting pan. Add 1/2 cup white wine and 1 cup chicken broth to the pan. Distribute more herbs around the pan. Roast as directed above.
     
    Roast Chicken with Roasting Vegetables
     


     

    Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry. Rub the outside of the chicken with salt, pepper, a halved garlic clove, and olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper in the chicken cavity, and stuff with fresh sage leaves, two garlic cloves cut in half, pieces of carrot cut to about 2 inches long and sliced length-wise, and an onion cut in chunks. Place the chicken in a roasting pan. Add 1/2 cup white wine and 1 cup chicken broth to the pan. Distribute sage leaves, springs of rosemary, and pieces of carrot, onion, and potato around the pan. Roast as directed above.
     
    Try these variations and use your imagination to develop many, many more!!!! This is a forgiving dish, which allows for many different combinations. Good luck and good eating!
     

    Angelo a Penn State Grad, has had the great fortune of seeing the world with the US Army over the past 25 years. He currently lives in Rome, Italy where he spends the day contemplating making and eating food.
     
     
     
     

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