25 January 2013

Baked (or Roasted) Chicken

According to cooking experts-- also known as "chefs"-- the true "tell" of a great cook is how well they roast a chicken.  Seriously... I read that somewhere. It's not as simple a task as it sounds-- trust me. Are the white AND dark meats moist but not undercooked? Is the skin crispy with a light brown tint?! Did you use the correct seasonings in the correct amounts?!?!

Lucky for you, I'm a Chicken Whisperer.

Growing up, I ate baked chicken A LOT.  Both of my parents worked at our church-- my dad as the choir director and my mom as the accompanist-- so during the school year, Wednesdays consisted of school, homework, children's choir, home for dinner, back to church to do homework while my parents rehearsed Senior Choir, then home to bed. When I entered junior high, children's choir ended just in time for youth group and 2 years of Confirmation.... yay. Then I matured to high school and joined adult handbells, Senior Choir, and directed the Children's Chime Choir for three years (OMG guys, are you impressed?!?!).

Like I said, we ate baked chicken a lot, especially on Wednesdays.

While I love my mother deeply-- I think it's safe to say we're besties-- her chicken was D-R-Y.  Don't worry guys, I'd never tell you anything about her I couldn't say to her face (and in this case already have-- love you Mom!). My scarred childhood of dry chicken left my badass adult self with two major life choices: never bake chicken again or bake the best damn chicken this side of the Mississippi! 

So here we are today: you wondering why I droned on about a lame chicken story and me about to share my secrets to great chicken.

The photos I have for you are an example of Baked Chicken, but I also use a roasting pan when I'm feeling saucy.

For this guy, I used my Pampered Chef Stoneware Deep Covered Baker. It's a great kitchen piece, and you can even cook a whole chicken in ten minutes using your microwave, but for the best results, take your time. 
There was plenty of room as the chicken was only 2 pounds, so I threw in veggies to take care of a side dish. Doesn't he look cozy? 

You might be wondering what's sticking out of the cavity or what spices I've used-- an excellent question. I first begin the process by crushing a glove of garlic and rubbing it all over the skin (top AND bottom). Then I surround the chicken with veggies and squeeze fresh lemon juice over everything (don't forget to get some underneath). After the lemon, I rub the chicken in quality olive oil and sprinkle a bit more over the vegetables. Place a couple garlic cloves, an onion wedge, and a lemon piece inside the cavity for moisture. You can also use apple pieces.

The best thing about poultry is the meat's flavor adaptability-- try various kinds of spice combinations until you find one you love.  If you're ever stumped, refer back to Simon & Garfunkel's Scarborough Fair.

Just add a salad and voila: a beautiful paleo meal!  It's easy, low maintenance, and utterly satisfying. Be sure to save the bones to make broth.  I hope you give this recipe a try-- it's perfect for dinner parties!

If you're also a Chicken Whisperer and have your own signature chicken recipe, send it my way-- I love to try new recipes! 

Baked Chicken

Serves 2-4 people


1 whole chicken, 2-2.5 pounds
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 lemon, cut into 2 wedges
1-2 Tbsp olive oil (or melted coconut oil) plus a little extra
1/2 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp parsley
Salt & Pepper to taste

2 carrots, cut into 2 inch sticks
1 yellow onion, cut into 6-8 wedges


Rub chicken with garlic, place in Deep Covered Baker (a Dutch oven or deep casserole dish will work), and surround with onions and carrots.  Squeeze juice from 1 lemon wedge over chicken and veggies, then rub the chicken all over with olive oil, sprinkling the veggies with some as well.  Sprinkle the chicken with spices.

As I said above: "Place a couple garlic cloves, an onion wedge, and a lemon piece inside the cavity for moisture. You can also use apple pieces."

After baking your chicken covered for an hour at 375 degrees (for a 2-2.5lb bird, you can find a chart of times & weights here), remove lid and put the baker back in the over for another ten minutes to crisp the skin. If your veggies are still underdone, remove the chicken and let them cook another 10 to 15 minutes until fork tender. (The temperature of the meat should be at 165 degrees)

Carve, serve, enjoy!

Hodge Podge Tips
  • If you like using PSRT, feel free to alter the amounts to your taste. 
  • You can use whatever sturdy roasting vegetables you want. I'd recommend any root vegetables cut up similarly to the carrots so they cook, or you can toss in brussels sprouts, potato wedges (if not doing Paleo), broccoli, cauliflower, etc.

1 comment:

  1. Loved this chicken dish… and it went really well with my stoneware roasting pot.

    Looking forward to trying more of your ideas…


    Happy in Montreal