Bring Back the Whole Chicken

Bring Back Whole ChickenA couple months ago, I decided to get a whole chicken to cook. Changed my world. The chicken tastes yummy and then we made stock from the leftover bones. BEST chicken stock I’ve ever had. I decided from then on I was doing chicken no other way (or at least rarely any other way).

Not too long after I decided whole chicken was the way to go, I came across this article on Fooducate. It talks about the rise in chicken consumption over the years but the drop in people buying the whole chicken.

In the past, people bought a whole chicken and cut it up at home (or prepared it as is).  Now, the most popular form is “further processed”. We can only assume this is McNuggets of various shapes and sizes. Indeed, convenience trumps all.

In my attempts to eat healthy and more whole foods, this information bothers me. Cooking a whole chicken is not difficult and tastes wonderful! Besides, in the long run it’s cheaper, especially if you make stock and use it for soups. Depending on the size of your family, you can get several meals out of one chicken. A little extra effort one day is worth the convenience of the days to follow when you can make chicken tacos, then chicken salad, then chicken noodle soup, and so on.

There are a couple ways we have cooked our birds–in the oven and in the crockpot. Both are super simple.

Chicken in the oven:

I have used the cooking instructions from this recipe, but I have been doing my own flavorings.

Set out your chicken 2 hours before cooking to get it closer to room temperature.

  • 1 Whole Chicken
  • 1 Stick of Real Butter
  • 6-8 Garlic Cloves
  • Sea Salt
  • Fresh or Dried Rosemary or Thyme

Preheat oven to 425º.

(Throughout the process you will be washing hands between each activity so you don’t spread raw chicken everywhere. I feel like I am constantly washing my hands when working with chicken.)

Take the guts out of the chicken cavity. Sometimes I use this, sometimes I don’t (If I do, while the bird is cooking, I will cook these down on the stove with water to make gravy for when the chicken is done).

Cut the stick of Butter in half and stuff in the bird.

Peel 6-8 Cloves of Garlic and smash just to open up the clove a little. Shove the Garlic Cloves under the skin and in the chicken cavity (wherever you can get them to fit).

Generously sprinkle the bird with Sea Salt on the inside and outside. Sprinkle Rosemary or Thyme on the inside and outside as well.

Place bird breast side down into your roasting pan (it keeps the breasts nice and juicy). I use my Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker, but you could use a roasting pan and foil if you don’t have something like that. Just make sure it’s covered.

raw prepped chickenRoast at 425º for 25-35 minutes depending on the size of the chicken.

Then turn the oven down to 325º and bake for another 60-75 minutes. Internal temperature should be 165º. The longer the bird cooks the drier it will be so make sure you don’t overcook. Let it rest for about 20 minutes before digging in. Eat it as is or take all the meat off and use it in your recipe of choice.Oven Cooked Whole Chicken

Chicken in the crockpot: 

Mom likes to cook her whole chicken in the crockpot. She scrunches up foil and places it in the bottom of the crockpot.foil in crockpot

The chicken is seasoned with olive oil, sea salt, various herbs (pictured with fresh lemon thyme) and slices of lemon (or orange). She also puts lemon slices into the cavity of the chicken. chicken in crockpot

The chicken cooks for approximately 4 hours on high in the crockpot or until internal temperature is 165 degrees. The chicken turns out very tender and moist. The juices can be used for gravy or saved for stock.Crockpot Chicken

We will do another post soon about making stock and how we use it.

What’s your favorite way to eat chicken?

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