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Mar 31, 2009 10:22 AM

Whole chicken - what to do besides classic roast?

So I have a busy day, a whole chicken, and we just had roast chicken a few days ago. I'd love something very very simple, maybe just with different spices? I usually roast my chickens after squeezing a lemon over them, putting the lemon in the cavity, sprinkling Italian or Provence-style herbs over them, and putting them in the oven until they are done. I just need some new inspiration - any ideas that are also dead simple? I also have about six mushrooms that need using up, some sour cream, about a half cup of yogurt, some carrots, and the usual kitchen stuff on hand. Thanks.

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  1. Chicken and dumplings...

    1. I recently prepared this Moroccan Spice Mix for a fish recipe but decided I like it even better with chicken.

      2 tablespoons coriander seeds
      2 tablespoons fennel seeds
      1 tablespoon cumin seeds
      1 tablespoon cardamom pods
      10 whole cloves

      Toast spices in a small, heavy skillet for about 7 minutes, let cool completely, then grind in a spice grinder.

      I've rubbed this into chicken breasts and baked them. If I had a whole chicken, I'd spatchcock it and either bake it or use a chicken-under-a-brick technique.

      It doesn't use up your ingredients, but you could serve the chicken with double-baked potatoes stuffed with a mushroom-sour cream filling.

      2 Replies
      1. re: JoanN

        You've called to mind a great recipe for roast chicken that's rubbed with a spice paste that includes lemon and the Moroccan spice mixture ras-el-hanout and stuffed with whole lemons in the style of Marcella Hazan's roast chicken with two lemons.

        Here's the recipe:

        The spice mix in the above post is a version of ras-el-hanout; there are many versions out there on the web. The one I've made and liked is this one, in the following recipe, but even with fewer spices, it's delicious.

        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

          That ras-el-hanout looks wonderful. Thanks.

      2. You could chop up the birdie into eight sections, give 'em a quick dredge in flour and a quick fry, then dig up some diced tomatoes out of the pantry, pulverize the carrots (and onions and garlic) in the food processor and let everything simmer for a nice cacciatore. The mushrooms would be nice in that. Serve it over spaghetti or whatever. Maybe combine the sour cream and the yogurt with whatever fruit you have lying around for a nice dessert parfait.

        1. Mark Bittman's Hainanese Chicken is something really different and delicious:

          Not what you're looking for today, maybe, but some other time? Takes a little over an hour, most of which requires no attention from you.

          5 Replies
          1. re: BerkshireTsarina

            This is a classic French way of making a chicken in a pot. Make sure you use a large (5-7qt) dutch oven that seals well (I put some parchment paper or tin foil to make an extra seal). It is extremely tasty, easy and the jus that it produces is so tasty.

            Poulet en Cocotte
            serves 4
            1 whole roasting chicken (4 1/2 to 5 pounds), giblets removed and discarded, wings tucked under back
            2 teaspoons sea salt
            1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
            1 T olive oil
            1 small onion, chopped medium
            1 small celery stalk, chopped medium
            6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and trimmed
            1 bay leaf
            1 medium sprig fresh rosemary
            1/2-1 teaspoon lemon juice

            1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large Dutch oven, over medium heat until just smoking. Add chicken, breast-side down; scatter onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and rosemary around chicken. Cook until breast is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Insert a wooden spoon into cavity of bird, flip chicken breast-side up and cook until chicken and vegetables are well browned, 6-8 more minutes. Remove from heat, place large sheet of foil over pot and cover tightly with lid. Transfer pot to oven and cook until instant-read thermometer reads 160 degrees when inserted into thickest part of breast and 175 in thickest part of thigh, 80-110 minutes.
            2. Transfer chicken to carving boards, tent with foil, and rest 15 minutes. Meanwhile, strain chicken juices from pot through fine mesh strainer into fat separator. Discard solids. Allow liquid to settle 5 minutes, then pour into saucepan and set over low heat. Carve chicken, adding any accumulated juices to saucepan. Stir in lemon juice. Serve chicken, passing the jus at the table.

            1. re: hankstramm

              "giblets removed and discarded"!!!!????

              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                The birds I've been getting lately don't even have the gibss.

                1. re: hankstramm

                  I've been roasting more chicken now that prices here have declined a bit. There are always a couple of wornen near the chickens, slightly pushing one brand or another. last time one was saying how the chickens (these are all packed in pairs) I selected were less of a bargain because they contained the giblets and feet. I said I made my selection because I wanted the giblets. She was shocked and asked what I did with them. I was shocked and just went away with my chickens shaking my head.

                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    SAM!!! You are a piece of work, I swear...your posts always make me laugh out loud!!!

          2. how about a butterflied--or spatchcocked--whole chicken rubbed with bbq spices and oil. the rub i use includes paprika, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, turbinado sugar, and black pepper. a split chicken is dandy on the grill and requires no attention--one hr split side down and off to the table (for a fryer). oven is fine, too--about 375.

            use shears to split the chicken along the backbone--even better, cut along each side of the backbone and take it out completely. press the bird a bit to flatten the breast arch. also, squnch out the leg/thigh quarters so they're not under the carcass.