This recipe is one of the most popular on my site. It seems to inspire many comments. Read below and leave your own if you try it. I will warn you that the only downside about this recipe is that it does not create a crispy crust. Where it lacks in texture, it makes up for in tenderness and flavor though.
This is my favorite kind of recipe – super simple and extraordinarily delicious. The basic idea is to brown a whole chicken in a Dutch oven and then finish it off in the oven at low heat. This cooking method allows for the chicken to simmer in its own juices. The cooking times in the recipe are for a 4½ – to 5-pound bird. A 3½ – to 4½-pound chicken will take about an hour to cook, and a 5- to 6-pound bird will take close to 2 hours.
This is my favorite kind of recipe – super simple and extraordinarily delicious.
It is best to use a 5- to 8-quart Dutch oven or a similar type of pot with a tight-fitting lid. If using a 5-quart pot, do not cook a chicken larger than 5 pounds. Use the best chicken you can find, such as a free range, organic or locally pastured chicken. The amount of jus (remaining pan juices) will vary depending on the size of the chicken. Thank you to Cook’s Illustrated for providing this recipe. It is on their website as well as in their magazine. Check out www.cooksillustrated.com for more amazing recipes. If you are not a member, I highly recommend joining. (I did change a few things in this recipe to make it more my own).
- 1 whole organic/pastured chicken (4½ to 5 pounds), giblets removed
- 2 teaspoons good salt
- several grinds of ground black or white pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter, coconut oil, ghee, palm oil, lard, chicken fat or duck fat
- 1 small onion, rough chopped (or about ½ cup)
- 1 small stalk celery, rough chopped (about ¼ cup)
- 6 medium garlic cloves, skin removed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 medium sprig fresh rosemary (optional)
- ½ cup dry white wine (optional)
- Heat oven to 250 degrees
- Prepare to place chicken on lowest rack in oven
- Wash and pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper (this is a very essential step for proper browning).
- Heat fat of choice in large Dutch oven over medium heat until very hot but not smoking.
- Add chicken breast-side down; scatter onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and rosemary around chicken.
- Cook until 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.
- Remove Dutch oven from heat and cover tightly with lid.
- Transfer pot to oven and cook until instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees when inserted in thickest part of breast and 175 degrees in thickest part of thigh, 80 to 110 minutes.
- Transfer chicken to carving board, tent with foil, and rest 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, strain chicken juices from pot through fine-mesh strainer into fat separator, pressing on solids to extract liquid; discard solids (you should have about ½ cup – 1 cup juices).
- Allow liquid to settle 5 minutes, then pour into saucepan with wine and simmer over low to medium heat for 3-4 minutes until jus is reduced by half.
- Carve chicken, adding any accumulated juices to saucepan.
- Serve chicken with pan jus.