cooking a whole chicken

Engagement Chicken (The Chicken with No Name)

Sunday night I made an epic dinner. All by myself. Remember how I said I wasn’t a very good cook? Many of my dishes turn out to be a disaster that I have to toss? Well I was a bit apprehensive about attempting to make an entire chicken all by myself.
First up: some good tunes to listen to while I cooked.
Lately I’ve become obsessed with the Neo-Tango music channel I created on Pandora. I love it. It’s upbeat and cheerful music. Now onto the recipe:
  • 1 whole chicken (approx. 3 lb.)
  • 2 medium lemons
  • Fresh lemon juice (1/2 cup)
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Nutrition Facts: One serving=  Calories: 329 Fat: 23 g Saturated fat: 7 g Cholesterol: 107 mg Sodium: 112 mg Carbohydrate: 4 g Fiber: 0 g Protein: 25 g

1. Place rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

2. Wash chicken inside and out with cold water, remove the giblets, then let the chicken drain, cavity down, in a colander until it reaches room temp (about 15 minutes).

3. Pat dry with paper towels.

4. Pour lemon juice all over the chicken (inside and outside). Season with salt and pepper. Prick the whole lemons three times with a fork and place deep inside the cavity. (Tip: If lemons are hard, roll on countertop with your palm to get juices flowing.)

5. Place the bird breast-side down on a rack in a roasting pan, lower heat to 350 degrees and bake uncovered for 15 minutes.

6. Remove from oven and turn it breast-side up (use wooden spoons!); return it to oven for 35 minutes more. Test for doneness—a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh should read 180 degrees, or juices should run clear when chicken is pricked with a fork.

7. Continue baking if necessary. Let chicken cool for a few minutes before carving. Serve with juices.

I made the Chicken with No Name. It has a name but I won’t post it here just yet. 🙂 It’s an inside joke between Michael and I.

I had to clean the chicken myself (and take out the giblets–eeeew). That was a moment of panic I had to quickly get over. I was a vegetarian for years and part of the reason was a revulsion to touching raw meat. Yuck! It was so creepy. But I guess I must REALLY love my boyfriend. 😉

I followed the directions and let the chicken sit for a few minutes draining. While that was going on, I got all the ingredients I was going to need.

One thing I need to really work on when it comes to cooking is to prep EVERYTHING before I start. And read the instructions all the way through. I was also going to roast some carrots and red potatoes and onions. Did I get the carrots ready? Nope. Then I was scrambling. I also didn’t notice that the potatoes took an HOUR in the oven. Oops! More on that later.

Thank goodness I got extra lemons. I was worried I wouldn’t have enough to squeeze out for 1/2 a cup.

Lots of lemons were used. I dried the chicken off and put it in the roasting pan.

I poured the lemon juice all over the chicken and inside the chicken.
I stabbed the lemon with a fork a few times and then stuffed it inside the chicken.

Unfortunately I could not fit both lemons inside the chicken.

I popped it into the oven for the first part of the roasting. During that 15 minutes I worked on the potatoes.

Roasted Potatoes

Red Potatoes

Carrots

Sweet Onions

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Minced Garlic

Parsley

I felt rushed to prep everything because I realized the dish had to bake for an hour! I wanted to make sure everything finished cooking at the same time.

I’m usually pretty good at multi-tasking but when it comes to cooking I have a hard time timing everything correctly.

I added a little too much olive oil to the mixture. Oh well. Live and learn.

The 15 minutes were up so I took the chicken out and flipped it over.  I also put the potatoes in the oven.

The recipe called for roasting it another 35 minutes or so. I checked on the chicken and the potatoes every 10-15 minutes.  I kept checking the temperature. The thermometer said Poultry should be a minimum of 165 degrees. The recipe called for it to be 180 degrees. I realized about half way through the cooking that I stuck the thermometer in too deep because the temperature wasn’t rising. I think I stuck it all the way through to the cavity. I removed it and put it in again and it read the temp right.

At about 55 minutes I took the chicken out and let it sit a few minutes before carving it. The temperature was over 180 degrees, so that was good.

A little chardonnay to go with dinner:

The potatoes were perfectly cooked. I loved the roasted veggies. The chicken was also perfect! It wasn’t dry or overcooked and the meat was so moist and succulent!

It was so delicious. And I did it all by myself!

I am so proud of myself for doing something so hard (for me). I loved the lemony flavor of the chicken, too.

Thank you Howard Stern for telling us about this fantastic dish also known as Engagement Chicken.  Despite it’s ridiculous name. 😉

And no I had no ulterior motives for making this dish.

QUESTION: Have you ever attempted something like this? How did it turn out?