I use poultry quite often but I’ve never made a Full Chicken before. That changed yesterday, I don’t know what took me so long! It is an easy dish that is perfect for Fall or Winter and the leftovers can be used in many ways, for example, this soup which is equally as delicious!
1 Whole Chicken
1 Lemon, Cut in Half
1 Tomato, diced
1 Celery Stalk, sliced
2 Large Carrots, sliced
1 Head of Garlic
2 Sprigs of Rosemary
3 Tbsp Butter, softened
3 Medium Potatoes, cut into big chunks
1 Large Onion, half of it in thick circles, the other half in large chunks
Salt & Pepper
*Throughout the process, be sure to clean your hands and counters well- you are working with raw chicken and you have to be careful.*
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
The chicken should be removed from the fridge at least one hour in advance before it gets put in the oven. If you put it in the oven straight from the fridge, it will “shock” the chicken and it will not cook evenly and it may get a rubbery skin.
After washing all of your ingredients (except the chicken, that simply spreads bacteria; pat it with paper towel instead) slice your carrots, potatoes, celery, onions and rip off 1 sprig worth of rosemary. Using the head of garlic (leave a few of the cloves on the side), take the outer peel off but leave a layer of skin on the cloves and leave them whole.. It will prevent the garlic from burning and becoming bitter while it cooks.
In a pan or in a casserole dish (I am obsessed with my Lagostina Cast Iron Cookware, I feel like Julia Child every time I use it), drizzle the bottom with Olive Oil. Line the edge with half of the amount of the prepared celery, carrots, potatoes and garlic while leaving a circle uncovered in the middle. In that circle, place your circles of Onion. You will be placing your chicken on top of this onion- this helps the chicken cook more evenly while also infusing it with a lot of flavor. Season with the Sprig of Rosemary and be sure to season it very well with salt and pepper and drizzle a bit more olive oil on top.
Then, open your chicken and be sure to season the inside cavity with salt and pepper (if there are giblets etc inside, make sure they are removed first).
Then, take the other half of the chopped ingredients and place it inside the chicken, along with the diced tomatoes, trying to press it down around all the sides to help it cook evenly.
Take the Lemon that you sliced in half and place it in the chicken. The inside of the lemon should be facing the sides or into the chicken, the peels should be seen coming out of the chicken.
Next, chop the other Rosemary Sprig, and grate the cloves of garlic you had left on the side earlier. Mix the two ingredients with the softened butter to make a a butter compote.
Then, using your hands, rub the outside of the chicken to spread the butter in the pocket into a nice layer.
Take the rest of the butter compote and spread it all over the outside of the chicken. You can also drizzle it with Olive Oil instead, it is up to you. I think next time, I will definitely use the butter but also use more olive oil. Sprinkle Paprika and season well with Salt and Pepper. Using your hands, massage it all really well on top of the chicken. Tie the legs together with some kitchen string/twine. Place the chicken in your dish, on top of the onions.
Place it in the oven, covered, for about 1 hour and 45 minutes (depending on how big your chicken is).
When there is about 30 minutes left, uncover the chicken and place it back in the oven so the skin gets a nice crisp to it.
Remove from the oven. To verify that the chicken is fully cooked, place a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the bird which is right at the thigh- the internal temperature should be around 165-170 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can cut into the piece, make sure the chicken is no longer pink and the juices should run clear.
Allow the chicken to rest 10-15 minutes before carving it. Serve with the roasted vegetables and the stuffing can also be removed and mixed in with the veggies.