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Old 09-12-2006, 12:18 PM   #1
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Cooking a whole chicken

Help! I need help in preparing and cooking a whole chicken. It is only partially defrosted. I was thinking there might be a cool recipe for a crock pot. Any ideas or suggestions? I am really new to cooking, which is why I am happy to have discovered this forum. Thanks in advance for the help!

Cindy

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Old 09-12-2006, 12:33 PM   #2
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I usually brine and then roast my whole chickens. I like hte moist meat and brown crispy skin

Chefs Catalog sent out this recipe via email the other day. While I probably would not make the butter sauce, its pretty simple and is a pretty tried and true way to roast a chicken.
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Old 09-12-2006, 12:41 PM   #3
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Cooking a whole chicken is very easy so don't let it scare you.

I would do the following:

Let the chicken thaw completely. If it's only partially defrosted a quick way to speed up the process is to fill a large pot with cold water and place the chicken in it (ensure it's completely submerged), you can add a heavy chopping board to ensure the chicken does not float back up. It is critical to thaw the chicken completely prior to cooking. I personally would stay away from a microwave to speed the thawing.

Once the chicken is thawed, ensure you blotch it completely with paper napkins to ensure it's dry.

I would either cook this chicken in the oven or in a large shallow pan with a lid on a stove. I prefer the oven so I will give you the oven method.

Make a bed for the chicken to rest. If you have veggies you can use them (whole carrots, celery etc. work well). If not make a ring out of crumbled foil and place it in an oven safe pan. Place the chicken on top of it.

Next place the chicken breast side up on the veggies or foil ring and stuff the cavity with aromatics. I like to use peeled and quartered onions, chunks of carrots, large bunch of parsley and thyme and quartered lemons.

Now make a spread that will be smeared on the skin. Use 1 stick of butter at room temperature and mix it with some minced garlic and salt and pepper. Smear this using your hands all over the chicken skin.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and cook the chicken covered for 30 minutes. It will release a lot of water. Next uncover and cook for another 40-50 minutes or until completely done. The chicken will be nice and golden brown.

You can then let it rest for 20 minutes or so before cutting and serving.

The drippings can be strained and used to make a nice gravy. Just thicken it with some cornstarch and some fresh herbs and you are all set.

You can also cook it on the stove but the results will be more of a poached chicken with soft skin. I like to cook skinless chicken on the stove and serve it with some type of sauce but for whole roasted chicken I like to stick with the oven.
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Old 09-12-2006, 12:42 PM   #4
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I probably make this recipe at least once a month. It's great for "Sunday Dinner," and also for breaking off pieces for sandwiches and snacks. I've been roasting chickens since I was a little girl. I have never brined a chicken, and I have never had a dry one. Try this. It's a no-brainer. It's from the manuscript for my book, which is why it looks so "formatted."

Perfect Roast Chicken

“If you can roast a chicken, you can serve 'Sunday Dinner' to ANYone ­ even the Queen of England!” That¹s what my mother told me when I was a little girl, and I still believe it¹s true. A properly roasted chicken is so easy to prepare, and always SO delicious; brown, crispy skin and juicy, succulent meat. And it makes the house smell SO good!

makes 6 to 8 servings, depending upon what you serve with it

1 free-range roasting chicken (5 to 6 pounds)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
2 whole heads plump fresh garlic, unpeeled, cut in half horizontally
several sprigs of fresh rosemary
several sprigs of fresh thyme
several sprigs of fresh marjoram
several sprigs of fresh lavender greens (if you can find a plant)
1 cup cold water or white wine (to baste the chicken)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Start by rinsing the chicken inside and out with cold running water. Drain it well and dry inside and out with paper towels. Make a mixture of about 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper and 1 tablespoon of coarse sea salt in a small bowl. Place the bowl alongside a shallow 9 x 14-inch roasting pan. Put the olive oil in the pan and distribute evenly. You will also need a 3-foot length of kitchen string.

2. Put the chicken into the pan and turn to coat well with the olive oil.
Season it generously, inside and out with salt and pepper. Put about half of the herbs inside the cavity. Truss with string.
3. Place the chicken on its side in the pan. Put the halved garlic heads (cut side up) and the remainder of the herbs into the pan alongside the chicken. Place the pan on a rack in the center of the oven and roast, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Baste the chicken with the water and roast for another 25 minutes. Baste again; this time with the juices in the pan— turn the chicken to the other side, and repeat the process. This will take a total of 90 minutes roasting time. By this time the skin should be a deep golden color. Test to see if the juices run clear when you pierce a thigh with the point of a knife.

4. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the chicken to a platter on which you have placed an overturned salad plate. Place the chicken at an angle against the edge of the plate with its tail in the air. (This retains moisture because the juices flow down through the breast meat.) Cover the chicken loosely with foil. Let it rest for at least 10 minutes or up to 30 minutes. The chicken will continue to cook as it rests. Reserve the roasted garlic to serve with the chicken.

5. To prepare a sauce, remove the herbs from the pan and skim as much fat as possible from the pan juices. Place the roasting pan over medium heat and scrape up any brown bits that cling to the bottom. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping and stirring until the liquid is almost caramelized. Do not let it burn. Spoon off and discard any excess fat. Add several tablespoons cold water to deglaze (hot water would cloud the sauce), and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.

6. While the sauce is cooking, carve the chicken and arrange it on a warmed serving platter along with the garlic.

7. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve and pour into a sauceboat.
Serve immediately with the chicken and the halved heads of garlic.

Wine Tip
: Serve a silky, fragrant red wine with this dish, such as a Volnay from Burgundy, or a Pinot Noir from Oregon¹s Willamette Valley.
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Old 09-12-2006, 12:51 PM   #5
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What does brine mean? I think I will use Yakuta's recipe this time. Thanks for all your advise and assistance!
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Old 09-12-2006, 01:04 PM   #6
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A brine is a salty solution made with liquid that many people feel is ecessary to ensure a moist chicken. I've found that if you cook the chicken with its tail up first, or roast it on its side (then turn over) that the moisture does not leave the breast meat.
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Old 09-12-2006, 01:09 PM   #7
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Thaw completely. Liberally sprinkle it with salt and coarse black pepper. Roast at 400* for an hour.
For a French Provencal touch put some thickly sliced onions and quartered red potatoes in the bottom of the roasting pan and put the chicken on top.

Brining is a very "current and choice" method of preparing poultry (and other things). I happen to hate what it does to the texture of poultry and obtain a very moist, juicy, well browned chicken or turkey without it.
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Old 09-12-2006, 01:16 PM   #8
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I think brining is a great choice for someone who is new to cooking chicken. One thing it does is builds in a little insurance that if you do end up overcooking your chicken (something that most novices do) then you will still have a juicy and tasty bird.

Brining is very easy to do. Mix up some salt water. I won't give you amounts, but you want enough water to cover the bird and you want it to taste salty like the ocean, but not so salty that you need to spit it out. The water should be cold when you put the chicken in. For a whole bird I would brine for maybe 5 or 6 hours in the fridge. When it is done brining then dry it with some paper towels and cook using whatever method you like.
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Old 09-12-2006, 02:10 PM   #9
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In his wonderful cookbook Glorious French Food, James Peterson says that when he's feeling lazy or rushed, he just puts a whole chicken in a 450 degree Faranheit oven (230 C) for 50 minutes, until the skin is crispy and brown and the juices that accumulate in the cavity (inside the bird) are no longer pink, then serves it. He calls this his equivalent of a TV dinner. Just be sure to remove the giblets and other junk from the cavity of the bird before cooking it.

If you want more detailed information about brining, try this site: http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/brining.html
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Old 09-12-2006, 03:12 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the help everyone. One more question just to make sure I have it right...when placing the chicken on the roasting pan do I place with the legs down or up? I always get this wrong! Thanks for your help! Here's to good eating!!!
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