We are quite fond of the free-range organic whole chicken from Trader Joe’s, and I always try to keep one or two in the freezer. When I make a whole chicken, I never think about plain old roasting it whole – tho’ I bet that would work a treat with this bird and the Apple and Bourbon Turkey technique – I usually just spatchcock the bird, then toss it in a marinade of olive oil, lemon juice, onion, and rosemary; or, one of spiced buttermilk and then grill or roast.
Then I got to thinking, what if I did both?
Buttermilk Maple Marinade:
•2 cups buttermilk
•1/2 cup canola oil
•1 tbsp maple syrup (Grade B, if you can)
•1 tsp Sichuan pepper corns
•1 tsp celery salt
•1 tsp granulated garlic
•1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
•1 tsp parsley flakes
•Couple sprigs rosemary
Place one half chicken in a gallon-size zipper bag and add the lemon juice and shell, the onion, and the rosemary. Sprinkle with salt and peppers, then drizzle olive oil over all – you don’t need to fill the bag, a bit under 1/2 cup should do it.
Place the other half chicken in another zipper bag, then combine the buttermilk, maple syrup, and canola oil with the seasonings and pour over the chicken.
Zip the bag closed, give it a couple of turns well and truly coat the chicken, then tuck that bag next to the other one in a large rimmed pan – a 13×9 glass baking dish works a treat.
When ready to roast, bring the chickens to room temperature, set your oven to 425º and divide your glass baking dish in two by making aluminum foil bowls.
Roast for 45 minutes, basting a bit if you think of it, but don’t worry about it if you can’t. Check the chicken, of course, but it should be nicely done at this point.
Remove to a platter and serve.
The lemon chicken came out golden brown, with nicely crisped skin, and the buttermilk hicken was lovely as well – even with that ominous looking blackened skin. The meat in both was uniformly moist and juice, and both were so very nicely flavored.
SO, I’ve given you a way to make one whole chicken with two distinct, but wicked tasty, marinades, given you an option for just roasting it whole with apple cider and bourbon, will now note that, if you like, you can brush the buttermilk chicken half with barbecue sauce for the last 15 minutes or so of roasting and you will be pleased, so, that’s four options for one bird. What’s the fifth?
One chicken is really more than the two of us can eat for dinner, so there was a bit of both remaining.
I removed the meat from the bones, and dug a jar of Cajun Power Chicken Gumbo out of the pantry. All natural ingredients, and awfully tasty, you usually add a jar of this and a jar of water to a pot, bring to a boil and then add raw chicken and simmer for 90 minutes or so. Since my chicken was well and truly cooked, I just added the boneless bits to the simmering sauce and heated through.
We had ours over a bit of white and wild rice and were most well pleased.
So, that’s three distinct (and all good) flavors from one chicken, plus another option to roast the bird whole if lemon, buttermilk, or buttermilk barbecue chicken doesn’t appeal to you, plus a wicked tasty way to use up any leftovers – lemon, buttermilk, barbecue, or apple-bourbon, it’s all good in gumbo!
Talk about your multi-tasking…