The thing about chicken is, it likes to turn hard and rubbery if it’s nicely browned, and it likes to taste steamy and horrid if it’s nicely tender.
But here is a roast chicken that’s nicely browned, and also very tender. It tastes delicious, and is pretty easy to prepare. And to top it off, it is not finicky about temperature, which makes it an excellent choice for novice woodburners like us. This one was cooked at anywhere from 250 to 450 degrees, starting at the low end and ending at the high end (as in, the opposite of how we are usually told to roast meat), and was none the worse for the wear and tear.
Thank you Allison, I needed that.
1 whole chicken, 2 smashed cloves of garlic, olive oil, salt, and cracked pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (smirk). Trim any excess fat from the chicken and remove the innards from the cavity — you can save them for making broth. Rinse the chicken inside and out, then dry it. Rub it inside, outside, and under the breast skin with crushed garlic cloves and olive oil. Sprinkle all over with salt and fresh cracked pepper, and rub it in. Tuck the wings under the chicken and truss the bird with string or heavy thread… tie the legs and tail together, then loop around the back and catch the wings.
Set the chicken breast-side up, on a rack in an open baking pan. Cover the breast skin with a square of clean linen soaked in olive oil (ok, honestly, I used part of an old sock — a clean one). Add a little hot water to the bottom of the roasting pan, or if it’s too shallow, put about a 1/2″ of water in a separate pan placed below the chicken.
Roast the chicken for 2 hours and enjoy doing something else while your dinner takes care of itself. About 10-15 minutes before it’s done, remove the ‘linen’ from the breast to get some additional browning on the breast skin.
The roasted bones, cartilage, and skin are good for making chicken broth. So are the pan drippings and the innards. Pick any good meat off the bones and set it aside. Put all the scrappy bits and pan drippings in a soup pot, cover it all with cold water, and put it in the fridge till you are ready to cook the broth. Refrigerate the good meat separately.
When you’re ready to make the broth add some flavoring agents, for instance: a rib of celery, a carrot, parsley, smashed garlic, celery seeds, rosemary, thyme, pepper, basil. Bring it to a boil then let it simmer slowly for about 3 hours. Let it cool off a bit, then strain the broth through a piece of cloth set into a strainer. Discard all the strained solids — after 3 hours of making the broth taste good, their own flavor is pretty much spent.
It’s handy to keep some chicken stock base concentrate, like “Better than Bullion“, on hand… if the broth is too weak, no problem, just add a teaspoon or two as needed.
Season the broth to taste. A splash of vinegar will give it a little sparkle. Add noodles and any vegetables you might like. Add the reserved chicken meat at the end. Try stirring a spoonful of plain yogurt into your bowl of soup for a creamy, tangy taste.
– Recipe by Now You’re Cooking With Wood.