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Dutch Oven Roast Chicken

November 1, 2011

We lucked out this week and were able to purchase a fresh local chicken at the Farmer’s market.   The ready to eat kind, not the kind you take home as a pet for your children.  (Although it would be a little awkward if it was the latter and I went on share a recipe on how to cook it.)

Although a few options went through my mind, I decided to see if I couldn’t try roasting it in the Dutch Oven.  What better one pan meal is there than a gorgeous roast chicken surrounded by seasonal root vegetables?  Some might argue it’s not the best one pan option and to those I say, “Send me your recipes!  I always want to try new things.”

I’ve adapted this recipe from several sources to create one über spectacular one.  That’s the beauty of my business:  I do the tough legwork and you get to enjoy the delicious outcomes!

I love that my chicken somehow looks like it was impersonating Julius Cesear…

Dutch Oven Roast Chicken
Yields: 4 Servings

1 3.5 to 4.5-pound Roasting chicken
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
3-4 sprigs Fresh rosemary (divided)
1 Lemon (halved)
1 head Garlic (cloves separated and peeled)
2 tablespoons Unsalted butter (melted)
1 tablespoon Olive oil
1 large Yellow onion (thickly sliced)
3-4 small Carrots (cut into 2-inch chunks)
3-4 small Red potatoes (cut into 2-inch chunks)
1 small Celery stalk (chopped)
1 bulb Fennel (tops removed, and cut into wedges)
1 Bay leaf

1. Adjust an oven rack to lowest position. Preheat oven to 300F.
2. Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out.  Thoroughly dry the chicken inside and out.  Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with half the rosemary, both halves of lemon, and half the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper.
3. In a large Dutch oven over medium, heat the oil until just smoking. Add the chicken, breast-side down. Scatter the onion, carrots, potatoes, celery, fennel, remaining garlic cloves, bay leaf, and remaining rosemary around chicken.
4. Cook until the breast is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Using a wooden spoon inserted into cavity of bird, flip chicken breast-side up and cook until chicken and vegetables are well browned, 6 to 8 minutes.
5. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat. Place a large sheet of foil over the pot, then cover tightly with the lid.
6. Transfer the pot to the oven and cook until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees when inserted in thickest part of breast and 175 degrees in thickest part of thigh, about 60-80 minutes.
7. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.

Kate’s Thoughts

Roasting a chicken in the Dutch Oven creates a different type of bird than you might be used to.  Because there is less air circulating inside the Dutch Oven than there would be in an open oven in a roasting pan, the chicken is basically steamed.  By browning the bird first, you help to prepare it for this type of cooking method but you still create a different product in the end.  The main noticeable difference is that the skin doesn’t crisp up and you will want to remove it before you carve it.  The texture of the meat is also slightly different.  Please don’t read this as it tastes bad, in fact, I found it much more succulent than a regular roast chicken.

The cooking time for this recipe is for a 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 pound bird.  Add approximately 20 minutes for every 1/2 pound.  I would absolutely recommend using a meat thermometer!

We also threw in some mushrooms we had on hand along with the vegetables I listed.  The beauty of this recipe is that you can adapt it to whatever vegetables your family wants and/or what is in season: turnips, parsnips, butternut squash, etc.  The one cautionary element is to not get too over zealous with your vegetables.  I think our pot was a little overcrowded and I would recommend that whatever combination of veggies you choose doesn’t exceed 4 cups.

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