Dead or alive, whole chickens scare me. There’s something about the mob mentality of a pack of live chickens that is positively terrifying. Dead chickens, on the other hand, are exactly the opposite--they look so sad and vulnerable that I’m afraid I’ll ruin them. Which is why I’ve always shied away from roasting whole chickens.
But then I saw Giada roast one on the Food Network (I’ve tried so many of her recipes that we’re on a first-name basis now), and I thought, “That doesn’t look so hard.” So we tried it, and let me tell you, that whole chicken was delicious:)
Here’s the original recipe from Giada (De Laurentiis). And here’s my version, which is virtually identical:
Garlic and Citrus Chicken
1 (5- to 6-pound) whole chicken, neck and giblets discarded
Salt and pepper
1 orange, quartered
1 lemon, quartered
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise, plus 3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 or 2 (14-ounce) cans of chicken broth
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed (no water added)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano)
Kitchen string or butcher twine
Sprinkle salt and pepper into the cavity of the bird, then stuff it with the orange and lemon quarters and the halved head of garlic. Tie up the legs, just to make sure everything stays put, then salt and pepper the bird’s exterior. Place the chicken in a roasting pan and roast in the center of a 400-degree Fahrenheit oven for one hour, basting occasionally with chicken broth.
While the chicken’s roasting, prepare the juice mixture by combining the orange juice, lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, and the remaining (chopped) garlic. At the one-hour mark, baste the bird with about one-third of the juice mixture, then continue roasting for approximately another 45 minutes, basting occasionally with the remaining juice mixture.
Once the bird’s temperature reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit at the seam between the thigh and the torso (which will happen in about another 45 minutes), remove the chicken from the roasting pan and cover it with foil to hold in its heat. Then prepare the sauce by simmering the remaining juices over medium heat until they have reduced to about one cup’s worth of sauce. Strain into a two-cup measuring cup, discard any chunks, and spoon off the fat before serving.
The only real difference between my version and Giada’s is that she seems to think you only need to add chicken broth if the drippings start to burn, whereas we found there was nothing to baste with if we didn’t add broth. Or maybe our chickens were just not as oozy as hers.
I realize it’s getting too warm to be roasting whole chickens, so maybe you’ll have to wait until fall to give this one a try. But this recipe’s a keeper for sure. I could slather that sauce on just about anything:)