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substituting a whole chicken for chicken pieces in a recipe

  • c
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Hi

I really like the sweet and sour chicken thighs from EPI linked below, and I would like to try the recipe using a whole chicken instead. The recipe basically calls for browning the chicken pieces, frying some onions and carrots, putting the chicken pieces on top of the fried veg and pouring over a lemon juice, honey and water mix and cooking over low heat. The sauce, mingled with the onions, becomes like a chutney.

If I was to do this with a whoke chicken, should I turn the chicken a couple times to even out cooking? How long would it take to cook? I'm worried that the onions might burn because a big chicken will take longer than chicken pieces. I would double or triple the sauce. any other suggestions? Thanks!

Link: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

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  1. I just made this recipe last night and we all loved it. Don't really have an answer to your question but your post made me think why all of a sudden does a recipe pop up and everyone seems to be making it? I think epicurious sent out an email the other day and that is how I found it. dh also, coincidentally, sent this recipe to me to make. I feel as if this recipe is haunting me, lol.

    Anyhow, I have a question for you.....when you made it with pieces, did it seem watery to you at the end? I thought the liquid diluted the intense flavors we rubbed into the chicken. I was going to make it next time without so much water but then not sure if the carrots would cook.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Elaine

      Yes, it's a wonderful recipe, isn't it?

      I cooked two chicken quarters, but kept the sauce quantity the same (you need all that good sauce!) and actually only used sliced onions as I was all out of carrots. There was no wateriness whatsoever; it was viscous and saucey, and the onions, glazed by the honey and lemon juice, became like chutney sticking to the chicken.

      My lid didn't seal totally, so perhaps that allowed just enough water to escape? I also used hot water, and made sure that the honey was all dissolved in the lemon juice/water mixture before pouring it over the kitchen. Maybe having the honey dissolved made the water syrupy-er.

      No clue, as you can tell! good luck.

    2. Thanks so much for posting this recipe! I happened to have a cut up whole chicken waiting in my fridge (along w/ a bunch of carrots I needed to use up), so this recipe fit the bill.

      Made it last night and it was WONDERFUL! Pictured below is one breast served w/ nutty basmati rice. Easy and soul-satisfying--a nice way to enter spring w/o letting go of winter comfort food just yet. The paprika-based rub was magnificent, filling up my whole kitchen w/ an exotic perfume while searing the meat. I might add some cayenne for a little more kick next time.

      I mostly followed the recipe, but used a whole cut up chicken (instead of just thighs), added a little more paprika, and threw in about a dozen large green Spanish olives stuffed w/ garlic (from Trader Joe's). The olives were a great addition IMO. The sauce was on the watery side, but I liked it this way. I did cock the lid askew during the last 5 min. of cooking to aid evaporation though.

      In response to your question about using a whole chicken, I would opt to cut up the chicken into 8 pieces rather than roasting it whole. That way you can really marinate and sear the meat inside and out, whereas a whole bird wouldn't allow for this.

      Link: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

      Image: http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y45/...

      4 Replies
      1. re: Carb Lover

        I'm glad you enjoyed it. Have you tried the James Beard 40 garlic chicken on leite's culinaria? it uses the classical roast chicken recipe but with chicken pieces, which are so much easier on a week night. It's not as saucy as the sweet and sour one, but I do it quite a lot, as well, with different vegetables on the base. I also turn on the grill for the last seven minutes to crisp up the skin.

        Happy cooking.

        Link: http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipe...

        1. re: Chiara V

          Thanks for the pointer; hadn't really noticed that recipe before. It looks ridiculously easy and perfect for weeknight cooking!

          Question: Noticed that it is covered the entire time during cooking and that the meat is not seared first. Does the skin still crisp up and brown nicely? Thanks.

          1. re: Carb Lover

            Here's the recipe again from Leite's Culinaria for those using Hot Posts...

            Link: http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipe...

            1. re: Carb Lover

              I just take off the aluminum foil, turn the broiler on for a couple minutes and it works fine. It got brown and crisp. And after 1.5hrs steaming in the wine, the flesh doesn't get dry. Just keep an eye on it in case it starts to blacken.

              I find a good loaf of bread a great way to use all those garlic cloves.

        2. I made this recipe with a cut-up broiler/fryer last Friday night. It was good, but, as I used a kosher chicken, way too salty. It also didn't seem so sweet and sour...I guess I was thinking of stuffed cabbage or meatballs with a tomato sauce.

          Anyway, the kids and husband all agreed I should make it again, but reduce(or eliminate) the salt. I would also use a bit less water.
          Thanks for the recipe! P.J.