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Monday, January 12, 2009

The Whole Chicken and Nothing but the Chicken: Recipe

One of the most satisfying things, to me, is the way the house smells while food is being cooked and there is something so comforting about a whole chicken roasting in the oven for hours. The smell just fills each room and seeps into your nose...and you just know that whatever comes out of that oven will be delicious. How can it not be, right?

Yesterday I made a roast chicken that was so juicy and so tender that we all ate and ate and ate until there was very little left over. Of course, I ate a good deal of the skin (and why not? it is the very best part - you can keep the white meat!). It was so crispy and full of flavor...I really enjoyed it.

The bay leaves were a terrific addition under the skin and while the balsamic seemed to caramelize to the point of almost burning, I would still use it again. The juice that came out of the chicken while it rested for that all-important 10 minutes was so wonderful and flavorful that we just dipped the chicken in that instead of making a traditional gravy.

Roast Chicken with Bay Leaves and White Balsamic
6.75 lb. oven stuffer roaster
4 Tbsp. Kosher salt
5 Turkish bay leaves (they're already dried)
2 Tsp. Paprika
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 onion, halved

Preheat oven to 350. Rinse and clean the chicken with running cold water and dry with paper towels, very well. With fingers, gently loosen skin away from the meat by running fingers underneath the skin and tearing the membranes away from the meat. Place all 5 bay leaves under the skin and reshape skin back to original shape. Rub salt all over the bird - inside and out.

Pour vinegar over the bird and then cover the bird with paprika and pepper. Place the halved onion inside the cavity. Roast breast side up until the little pop-up timer pops (for this bird I cooked it 2 hours and 15 minutes and then allowed it to sit for 10 minutes before it was carved).

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