10 Hour Chicken
In keeping with the whole chicken theme, here’s a recipe I made quite a while ago that never actually made it up here. This is another one from Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook that looked simple enough to try, and it turned out really well, which substantially less raw chicken dissection involved. But it did still involve sticking things inside an empty chicken. (Bleh – just that phrase “empty chicken” makes me squig. You?)
Looks simple enough, right? I’ll spare you the gory parts – all I really had to do was give the chicken a salt rub and towel it dry. Not so bad. Oh, but I have another story for you later.
Okay, so chicken is cleaned and stuffed with things (lemons, herbs – you know, things), covered with tin foil, and then stuck in the oven for 9 1/2 hours. Seriously. Longer than most crock pot recipes. But plenty long enough to put it in in the morning, head off to work, and come home to an almost finished dinner!
Later that evening…
And voila! Dinner!
Okay, I promised you a story. I really feel like I’ve told this one before, but I have a terrible memory…
Have I told you about my cat? The kitten, actually. He’s not such a kitten anymore, but he’s the baby in the house, so kitten he stays. Anyway, he’s a monster. A knock-down, drag-out, fragile-things-breaking, people-food-eating monster. I knew this from early on, but this particular cooking adventure proved it once and for all.
So, whole chickens come with their innards stuffed inside. I didn’t know this until I was getting ready to wash the bird and something fell out, plop, right into the sink. On this particular chicken, they’d thoughtfully wrapped the inside bits in parchment paper so it was a nice tidy little packet, which I (also thoughtfully) left in the sink because I didn’t know what else to do with it. I then proceeded with my chicken washing and thought no more about it.
Fast forward to an hour or so later, when I was sitting in my library swivel couch reading, and I happened to look up and see a trail of blood down the center of my hallway. My first thought was that the kitten had finally broken himself instead of a vase or plate or coaster or something else we really liked, and had cut himself and was gushing blood all over the house, and oh god I had to find him before he died. So of course I leaped up and followed the trail of blood, which lead into our spare bedroom.
No sign of the kitten, just a trickle of blood across the room.
I retraced my steps, and found a second trail of blood leading into our bedroom. This one lead across the room, under the corner of the bed, and onto the rug on the far side of the room where Reenie the Monster Cat lay on his stomach, curled dragon-like around the full package of chicken innards, gnawing lovingly on one of them. He saw me coming, of course, and picked up the chicken sachet and tried to run past me with it.
That’s right – he not only knew he was in trouble, he knew why, and knew that he wanted to do everything he could to retain his hard-stolen snack. Needless to say, in his attempt to escape, he managed to drop half of the chicken innards at various intervals along the floor in my bedroom before I captured him and confiscated his prize. I’m not sure who was unhappier – Reenie without his treat, or me with the entire container of Clorox Cleanup wipes wiping down the entire floor of my house and washing my rug.
My Father’s Daughter, Gwyneth Paltrow
- 1 organic whole chicken (3-4 lbs), washed and dried
- 1 lemon, halved
- coarse salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 bunch fresh thyme
- half a head of garlic, peeled
- Preheat oven to 200° F.
- Place the chicken in a rectangular roasting dish breast side down.
- Squeeze the lemon halves over the chicken in the pan.
- Generously sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper all over (front and back, inside and out).
- Tuck the thyme and the lemon halves and 3-4 cloves of garlic in the cavity.
- Place the remaining garlic cloves around the pan.
- Wrap the roasting dish tightly with aluminum foil and put in the oven for, no joke, 9 1/2 hours.
- Much later…
- Take the chicken out of the oven and boost the heat to 400° F on convection if possible.
- Unwrap the dish, flip the chicken over so it’s lying on its back breast side up, and sprinkle with more salt and pepper.
- Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until it’s nicely browned.
- Let chicken cool slightly, then carve and serve with all of its lovely juices.