I had decided on a French(-ish) cuisine roast chicken for Sunday’s family dinner. Daughter Miriam is still off onions and garlic, so I needed to create a tasty recipe that did not include them. However, some habits are hard to break and I added garlic to my marinade without thinking. To make something for Miriam, I bought another chicken breast and marinated it in the same marinade sans garlic.
While a whole roast chicken makes for an attractive presentation at the dinner table, it is hard to get the light and dark meat to roast evenly. Cutting the bird in half allows you to cover the delicate breast meat with foil to keep it from drying out. This technique also reduces the cooking time.
Karl’s Honey Rosemary Roast Chicken
⅓ cup Madera wine
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. honey
4 cloves garlic, minced (left out of second marinade)
1 tsp. dried rosemary, ground
1 tsp. chervil
½ tsp. sage, rubbed
½ tsp. Kosher salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 whole chicken
1 large white onion, sliced into ⅜ inch thick rings
1. Cut the chicken in half and pull the skin away from the meat.
Tip: Leave the skin attached along the center line of the breast and at the bottoms of the legs—in other words, make an open pouch with the skin and meat.
Note: Cut out the back bone with kitchen shears and open up the bird. Remove the breast bone and ribs—when you cut through the backbone it leaves the jagged ends of the ribs sticking out and these will puncture the plastic bag as you marinate the chicken.
2. Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a small bowl.
Note: To make some chicken that Miriam could eat, I made a second smaller amount of the marinade without garlic. I bought a skinless, boneless chicken breast and marinated it in a second small bag.
3. Place one half of the chicken in a sealable gallon plastic bag and spoon a third of the marinade in-between the skin and the meat.
Tip: Work the marinade up and around the thighs and legs.
4. Put the second half of the chicken into the bag and season the skin pocket.
5. Pour the remaining marinade over the outside of the chicken.
6. Press out the air and seal the plastic bag and marinate in the refrigerator for at least four hours.
Tip: Overnight is better.
Note: An hour before roasting, remove the bag from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
7. Preheat the oven to 375º F.
8. Place the chicken halves—skin side up—on a Pam-ed wire rack set on a lipped baking pan.
Tip: Gently tug the chicken skin over as much of the meat as you can without tearing and transfer the remaining marinade to a cup.
Note: Since I had already added garlic to the marinade I decided that I could roast the chicken over some onions. I sliced up a large onion and lait the rings on top of the wire rack. I then laid the chicken halve over the onions.
9. Roast the chicken for 15 minutes and then brush on half of the remaining marinade.
10. Continue roasting for another 15 minutes and then brush on the rest of the marinade.
11. Lightly cover the breasts with some aluminum foil to keep the breast meat from overcooking.
12. Reduce the heat to 350º F and insert a constant read thermometer set to 163º F into the breast near the wing joint.
Tip: Whenever I under cook a chicken, the under done spot is where the wing meets the breast. If you poke a hole here the juices should run clear with no pink. Roasting a whole chicken is always a delicate balance between the meat being moist and juicy and salmonella. Roasting the chicken to temperature should take about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes.
Note: If the juices do not run clear you may leave it in the oven for another few minutes or transfer the chicken to a smaller plate and microwave the birds for two minutes to finish it off.
13. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and cover it with aluminum foil to rest for ten minutes.
Tip: The chicken will continue cooking and reach a safe internal temperature.
Note: I felt the onions rings had not cooked enough, so I fried them a bit more in a skillet. and place them under the chicken on the platter.
14. Serve the chicken halves whole—to carve at the table.
Tip: If you wish you may garnish with some sprigs of parsley.