As promised in "Where's the chicken?," this favorite family meal, perfect for snowy Sundays (and any other time you want the kitchen heated up, i.e. not for summer). Today, for the weather records, we’ve had sun, lightning, thunder, blizzards and then sun again.
Special equipment needed for this meal: Clay cooker - without this, you’re just roasting a chicken, which is great too but will not produce this scrumptious dish.
Romertopf Chicken (cooked in a clay pot)
Serves 4 (or 2 with enough left over for 2 chicken sandwiches and 1 chicken stew for two)
1 whole chicken - 3.5-4 lbs
2 parsnips (my best-friend veggie, once again)
6 small shallots (or pearl onions, cippoline onions, or leeks-whatever you have on hand)
6 cloves garlic
3-4 T Simon and Garfunkel herb medley (parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme) - chopped
Salt and pepper
Herbamare (seasoned salt if you have on hand, not essential)
2 T Butter (if you want to raise your cholesterol and really enjoy this dish)
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
Soak clay pot in water for 15 mins.
Meanwhile, clean chicken, remove neck, extra fat, loosen skin from breast (very carefully so as not to rip skin), salt interior. Place in bottom of clay pot.
For very juicy breast meat, soften 2 T butter, mix with 1-2 T chopped Simon and Garfunkels, and spread under skin of breast. Sometimes, as with today, I throw in a few slivers of garlic.
Drizzle olive oil over chicken, sprinkle with salt, pepper, herbamare, and two cloves of pressed garlic.
Chop all veggies into large chunks (1”) and spread evenly over chicken. Salt, pepper, sprinkle herbs over veggies; press remaining garlic cloves and sprinkle over veggies as well.
Put top of clay cooker on and place in cold oven, set to 400 F. After an hour and 45 minutes, remove veggies and keep warm. Put chicken back in oven to brown for another 10-15 mins.
Meanwhile, make gravy (whatever recipe pleases you; can be as easy as using prepared stock—or you can make stock from scratch with chicken neck, clove of garlic, 1 strip kombu, 1 carrot, 1 onion, 1 stalk celery, and parsley—and mix with thin roux).
Remove chicken from oven and get ready to send me a thank you note.