I cook a whole chicken about every other week. It gives us about two days worth of food, minus the wings, which I throw into the stock. Cooking a whole chicken takes love, and extra special care. But, when done right, it can taste… decent. Definitely less chicken-y than chicken. We hate chicken.
The ingredient list looks long at first glance, but be not afraid. It’s mainly spices, and all are available at your neighborhood Walmart. White pepper is usually with the Hispanic foods rather than the regular spices.
one whole chicken, neck and giblets removed, preferably unfrozen
1/2 stick salted sweet cream butter
red curry powder
hot madras curry powder
whole peppercorns, about eight
1. Remove chicken from packaging and wash it. Make sure to clean the cavity well, and rub the skin between the thighs and wings where it meets the torso well.
2. Place the chicken breast down in a large glass bowl big enough to be covered in plastic wrap without being all over the chicken.
3. Drop the whole peppercorns into the large cavity of the chicken. Wash the apple, then using a paring or vegetable knife make deep cuts all around to the core. Do not cut it into pieces, leave it whole. Stuff the apple into the cavity.
4. In a small skillet, melt your butter over medium heat. Be careful it doesn’t burn.
5. Mix in all the spices except the whole peppercorns. Use however much you think you will like. Measurements mean nothing, really. Just be careful with the cayenne as it is super spicy!
6. Rub a little of the butter mixture over the back of the chicken. Flip the chicken over so the breast side is up.
7. Rub the remainder of the butter mixture into the breast side of the chicken, being sure to get it in between the wings and thighs where they meet the torso. Make sure the breast side is completely covered.
8. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap, being sure to not touch too much of the chicken with it. Refrigerate at least two hours, preferably about five. I generally stick the buttered chicken in the fridge around 10:30 – 11am and start cooking it around four.
1. Preheat your oven to 350. Prep your roasting pan. I like to line mine with foil to cut down on cleanup.
2. Take the chicken out of the bowl and place it breast side up on the pan’s rack. Scrape out any hardened butter mixture from the bowl and place it on top of the chicken.
3. Add drinking grade water to the pan under the rack until the bottom of the pan is covered up to the rack.
4. Cover the pan with foil, doming it so that the foil does not touch the chicken.
5. Cook for two to three hours, checking every thirty to forty-five minutes for moisture. If the chicken looks a tad dry, spoon some of the liquid from the pan over top of it.
6. If you want your chicken slightly crispy, take the foil off for the last 30 minutes of bake time.
There you go! It’s not difficult, just time consuming. Play around with the spice mixture, but do use every spice I listed. It’s a winner, here. I tried many combinations of spices and herbs on the chickens, and this is definitely Alex’s favorite – and mine, as it really flavors the chicken.
Other spice combinations I tried are (and all were good, just not masky):
1. oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, basil, black pepper, sea salt, garlic powder, onion powder, whole cloves in place of peppercorns
2. ground cloves, allspice, paprika, chipotle pepper, peppercorns
3. sea salt, black pepper, paprika, turmeric, rosemary, thyme, pickling spice in place of peppercorns
4. same as #3 except bay leaves rather than pickling spice
All use the melted butter.
You can also cut an onion into wedges and dip it in lemon juice and put that in the cavity rather than the apple.
Really, the options are pretty endless. If you have a spice, you can put it on the chicken.