French Roasted Chicken

Does everyone else love Trader Joe’s as much as I do? The closest one to me is in Everett, which isn’t far if you’re a crow, but if you’re just a woman with a car, and you’re heading there from Marysville and having to fight all that hideous traffic, it can easily take a half an hour to get there. But I do it. TJ’s is a worthy destination. If they ever put one in Marysville, I wouldn’t have a reason to ever leave town again.

I made the trek last week to pick up a few things for a luncheon I was planning. As is usually the case, I picked up more things that were not on my list than things that were. In the spirit of full-disclosure, I must admit that no paper is used in the making of my lists. It’s all up here (tapping head). I kind of always know that I’m going to get three or four boxes of organic tomato soup, organic yogurt, mini pitas (one of these days I’m going to try my hand at making my own), brie, and peanut butter-filled pretzels. Pretty standard list. But lately, I’ve been finding irresistible new products, like the butternut-squash raviolis I’m suddenly addicted to, and the condensed porcini mushroom soup that really does add a burst of deliciousness to whatever you put it in.

On this trip, I couldn’t resist more ravioli and two gigantic chickens. The minute I saw them, I started craving French roasted chicken. This recipe is the main reason why I plant a minimum of six rosemary plants every spring. Oh, but it’s good. And the way it makes your house smell? I have no words.

French Roasted Chicken

  • two whole chickens (if you want to make one, cut these ingredients in half)
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 2 hefty sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1/2 cup good balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper

This is one of those cook-all-day recipes. You need at least four hours, but you can stretch that out if you turn your oven down. I like to cook this on 250 for 5 hours. You can use the crock pot if you like, but I really do think this works better in the oven.

Also … and I don’t want to put a burden on you if you don’t have stoneware … but I am pretty sold on stoneware. I happen to have a lot of Pampered Chef, but only because the sweet women in my church threw me a PC party ten years ago when we built our home. They wanted to stock my kitchen (isn’t that the nicest gesture?) and so I was given all the credits for the party plus some cash to spend. I used practically the entire amount for stoneware. And I love it so much that I’ve gotten rid of almost every other baking sheet and pan I used to have. BUT if you don’t have stoneware, don’t despair. Just roast this chicken in your biggest roaster and put “stoneware” on your wish list for down the road.

Start with garlic … and lots of it. I use an entire head for two chickens. I kind of think you can never have too much garlic.

Mince, chop, or put through a garlic press.

Can you smell it?

Next, chop your rosemary. It doesn’t have to be too fine.

Add the rosemary to the garlic, along with salt and pepper, the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.

Smoosh together. Next, wash and pat the chicken dry and set inside your roaster. Don’t forget to remove the neck and every other disgusting thing lurking inside.

Now you want to take your fingers and wiggle them under the skin everywhere you can. Some areas loosen up better than others, but you want to make as many little pockets as you can. Then take scoops of the rosemary-garlic mixture and spoon them under the skin. Rub the outside of the skin to disperse the mixture evenly.

I’m sparing you pictures of that procedure, because when Tera saw what I was doing, her face went pale and she announced that she was thiiiiiis close to never eating chicken again.

Take the remaining mixture and rub it all over the outside of the chicken. Put some in the neck and body cavities too.

Cover with foil or a lid and bake in a 250 oven for 5 hours (alternately, bake 4 hours on 300). In that last hour, drain off most of the juice (there may be a lot) in a pan and save for soup or gravy. Replace lid or foil and bake for the last hour.

Here’s the reward. And yes, I see that there’s a little skin missing on that one chicken, almost as if someone couldn’t help herself and had to tear off and devour it, but … c’mon. Who would do that? :angel

What’s so great about roasting two at once is that you have a meal for tonight, a meal for tomorrow, and a meal for the freezer. You know how I love batch cooking. 🙂

The moment it’s cool enough to handle, I slice pieces for dinner, then remove all the best pieces to use in chicken paninis and casseroles. The meat goes in one container, the bones and “extras” in another.

This recipe makes the BEST chicken soup … omw. No time today to add the recipe (I’m off to teach at Joyful Life at church in just a bit), but here’s a picture for now:

So … see you at TJ’s? 🙂


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2 Comments on "French Roasted Chicken"

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Kelly Propster

Shannon, you just amaze me! I don’t know how you have the time to do the things you do and then be one of the most happiest people I know!! This chicken looks incredible and can’t wait to make it.
Love ya lots

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