Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Potted Chicken: An Update!

We've really been enjoying potted chicken recently. Today, I'm making two chickens in my electric roaster and I've heaped it full of russet potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic. While teaching 17-year-old Zach to make it today, I decided that I needed to update it a bit with the variations I've made.

For one thing, I've taken to rubbing the chicken with a rosemary spice rub before putting it in the pot. Secondly, I've adapted the way I do the lemons--I don't take the peels off. I've found that it's not only a royal pain, but it also makes it hard to use that wonderful golden goo that's leftover because there's too much lemon pulp in the goo. Also, because it's not in season, I'm omitting the fresh rosemary, and because I'm using the spice rub, I'm omitting the pepper and salt. Also, since oranges are inexpensive right now, I'm substituting some of the lemons with oranges.

Here's the variation:


Potted Chicken with Rosemary Spice Rub


1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbs. onion salt
1 Tbs. seasoned salt, such as Lawry's
1 Tbs. garlic salt
2 Tbs. paprika
1-1/2 tsp. chili powder
1-1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
1 Tbs. dried sage
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crumbled
1/4 tsp. cayenne

Combine all the ingredients and blend well.

1 locally-raised, free-range (preferably organic) roasting chicken
6-10 whole heads of garlic, rinsed, cut in half side-to-side (giving a cross-section look). Remove any loose papery skin, but leave heads as much intact as possible
2 large lemons
1 large orange
4 large onions, sliced
olive oil
heaps of baby carrots or cleaned carrots cut into small chunks
handfuls of chunked potatoes, either Yukon Gold or red-skinned potatoes

In a dutch oven, lay the sliced onions and 4 of the cut heads of garlic. Rub the spice rub all over the chicken, inside and out. Cut lemons and oranges in quarters (or eighths, depending on the size of the fruit). Stuff the chicken with the lemon and orange wedges, several more of the heads of garlic, more onion, and then sprinkle with spice rub.

Top the whole thing with as many heads of garlic and slices of onion as you like. Tuck as many carrots and potatoes as you would like or can fit around and on top of the chicken. Sprinkle with more a bit more spice rub. Drizzle with olive oil.

Bake, covered, (I use the cast iron dutch over my mother-in-law got me last Christmas) in a 350 degree F oven for about 3 hours. The chicken will literally fall off of the bone. Dig the garlic heads out, scoop the buttery-soft garlic out of the skins and spread on the chicken or on pieces of crusty bread, like the No-Knead Rosemary Bread or Genovese Basil Bread. Serve the carrots and potatoes on the side. When you've finished the meal, separate the chicken from the bones and skin and use it later for delicious chicken salad. Transfer all of the garlic pulp, juices and soft onions to another container and use it for a stock base or a fabulous gravy for your next batch of redskin mashed potatoes.

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