Food for Thought: Slow Roasted Chicken

The following is from Mark's Daily Apple.

There are already so many different recipes for cooking a whole chicken, you might wonder why you need one more. But if you’re a fan of store-bought rotisserie chicken, then you definitely need this one. Just like a cooked chicken from the market, the meat on this bird is plump, juicy and tender and the skin browned and deeply flavorful. Plus, this recipe is so simple and hands-off that it’s basically as convenient as driving to the store to buy a rotisserie chicken.

What’s the secret? Low and slow. Most recipes for roasted whole chicken crank the oven temperature above 400 ºF/205 ºC in an attempt to crisp up the skin and quickly cook the meat before it dries out. This recipe keeps the temperature at a low 300 ºF/150 ºC and cooks the chicken slowly for 3 hours. While the skin doesn’t get super crispy, it’s far from flabby, and has the same rich flavor that rotisserie chicken skin has. The meat is flavorful and really moist but never rubbery around the bones, like some roasted chickens can be.

The long cooking time at low heat is a gentle and reliable way to make sure the chicken is fully cooked without drying out, so it’s really hard to over or under cook this bird. As an another added bonus, you get to choose the quality of the chicken (ideally pastured and/or organic) and don’t have to wonder if the chicken’s been ruined by a rub down in vegetable oil or other undesirable ingredients, like many store-bought rotisserie chickens are.

Tender, flavorful, healthy and easy – four good reasons why this recipe for roasted chicken is a real winner.

Servings:  1 whole chicken

Time in the Kitchen:  15 minutes, plus 3 hours roasting time

Ingredients:

  • 1  3 to 4 pound whole chicken (1.4 kg to 1.8 kg)
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds (10 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds (5 ml)
  • 2 teaspoons paprika (10 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, plus several sprigs to stuff in the chicken cavity
    (30 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (8 g)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (45 ml)
  • 1 lemon, quartered

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 300 ºF/150 ºC.

Grind fennel and coriander seeds. Mix with paprika, thyme, salt, and olive oil. Rub all over the chicken.

Stuff the lemon pieces and thyme sprigs inside the chicken cavity. Tie the legs of the chicken together.

In a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet, roast the chicken for about 3 hours. As juices/fat accumulate in the pan during the roasting process, baste the chicken a few times while it cooks.

When the chicken is done, the skin should be nicely browned and the meat very tender. A thermometer inserted between the leg and thigh should register at 165 ºF/74 ºC.