How to Roast a Whole, Pasture Raised Chicken from Full Circle
-from The Main Course, a Full Circle recipe publication
Not only does Full Circle believe in growing the best organic produce around, but they take pride in partnering with those who produce the best food available. The pasture raised chickens, available in Green Grocery, are forage-fed an all-natural diet and organic feed without antibiotics–which means the chicken is healthier and more flavorful.
Here are a few tips and recipe ideas for prepping, roasting and grilling your whole chicken–as well as how to portion your bird for a variety of dishes. These easy steps will get you on the road to a comforting, wholesome and healthy homemade meal that your whole family will love!
Roasting Whole Chicken –
Whole chickens can be used for a variety of meals. Roasting a chicken whole is by far the easiest option as it takes little prep and can be roasted in about 1 to 1 1/2 hours with resting time, depending on the size of the bird and type of oven.
Start by preheating the oven to 450˚ F. Prep your whole chicken by removing the giblets, neck and other offal. Cut off any excess fat and rub the skin down with oil, brushing oil into the cavity. Season with salt and pepper, fresh herbs or stuff with your own selection of vegetables (though be aware that stuffing a bird increases the required cooking time).
Place chicken on a grated roasting pan in the middle rack of your oven or place directly on the rack with a deep pan below to catch the juices, add four cups of water to the pan to avoid burning. Cook for 20 minutes at high heat, then baste with juices or marinade and reduce oven temperature to 350˚ F.
Cook for another 30-40 minutes depending on size of the bird. The chicken should temp to 155˚ F (again, every chicken may cook differently depending on size and oven type, for example convection ovens take around 25% less time, so it’s best to use a thermometer to determine an accurate temperature). Once the bird has reached 155˚ F, turn oven off, open door, and let the chicken rest for 15 to 20 minutes, or until when pierced into the breast the resulting liquid runs clear. Internal temp should be 165˚ F.
One whole roasted chicken can easily feed four people or make enough meat for leftover sandwiches, burritos, and soup.
Whole or butterflied chicken can also be roasted on the grill. Much like in the oven, sear the seasoned chicken directly over the hot side of grill. Once well seared, move the chicken over to the cool side of grill and cover to bake with indirect heat. Place a pan below to catch juices. Cook until bird reaches internal temperature of 165˚ F.
Portioning Chicken –
If you prefer your chicken cut into pieces, here is an easy and practical method for jointing a chicken:
When carving the chicken remember to save any bones, the carcass, spine and other bones can be added to the drippings with carrots, celery, onions and bay leaves and additional water, and simmered for no more than three hours to make stock.
You will need a sharp boning knife or a six- to eight-inch chef’s knife, a good cutting board and about five minutes.
1. Place the chicken breast side up on the cutting board. Remove the legs by cutting through the skin between the body and the thigh. Push the leg firmly downwards and out, cutting until the ball joint is exposed. Sever the tendons between the ball joint of the thigh and body and continue until leg is removed. Repeat on the other side.
2. Turn the bird breast down on the board. Slice through the cavities created by the removal of the legs, cutting forward slightly above the wing joints so they stay attached to the breasts. Continue forward until the back is only attached by the shoulder joints. Press down firmly on the breasts and pull up on the severed back section. Cut through the bone and sinew to completely remove the back.
3. With the breast still face down on the cutting board. Divide the two breasts by cutting down slightly to one side of the breast bone, cut firmly but strongly through. You’ll now have four good portions, plus the back for stock or soup starter.
4. If you wish to have smaller equal portions, divide the breast at an angle to retain the wing on one half and the other half containing about two-thirds of the breast. Separate the thighs from the drumsticks by cutting and exposing the joint, then with your hands bend and break the joint to expose the ball and socket. Slice through the exposed tendons to separate the thigh from the drumstick. You now have eight usable and relatively equal portions.
Good Food Tips
REMEMBER! Let cooked meats rest for at least five minutes before slicing.
When your bird is fully thawed, pat it dry with a clean towel before prepping.
TRY savory, fennel, basil, and thyme inside your bird to add a rich and aromatic flavor.
Tuck garlic cloves under the skin (and toss some into the cavity) to add a sweet roasted garlic taste.