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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Best Chicken Ever

I hope you had a great Saturday!

I'm still working on getting ready for our game night, but in the meantime, I needed to make lunch for a family we know.  I made the Best Chicken Ever, green beans, and this cake that I shared previously. 

Even if you are not the best cook ever, like my grandmother, it is nice if you have at least one meal that you know you can cook for guests and it will be fantastic.  These are some of my go to recipes.  My husband says these are the best green beans ever.  I got the recipe from Publix Aprons Simple Meals, and so you can easily get it here, on their website.  The only things I do differently are to make a much larger batch (as in, the recipe calls for 12 oz. of green beans and my husband and I can easily eat a pound by ourselves, as these are so good) and I add 2-3 times as much bacon as the recipe calls for--doesn't bacon make everything better?

Now for the chicken. 

I learned the real secret of this chicken about seven years ago from my fantastic friend, Holly.  She has a similar recipe that she made once while I was visiting.  The secret to good chicken (and many other things) is patience.  It really doesn't matter if you have the freshest herbs, or the best oil, or expensive chicken.  To be really good, you need to cook it on a very low temperature for a very looooonnnnnnggggg time.  I'm serious.  I cook mine for 11-12 hours at 200 degrees.  It should also be covered.  I happen to have a stoneware casserole dish and the rectangular lid/bowl from Pampered Chef that I use.  (I bought them years ago when I wasn't married and had money.)  You could use a much cheaper version of casserole dish and tin foil or something similar.  

To make this chicken, you will need:

1 whole chicken (or 2, or a turkey--it's versatile!)
Olive oil
Pepper (I used a VERY light sprinkling of Chipotle pepper instead of black)
Any herbs you like--I used tons of rosemary, some thyme, oregano, garlic powder, and minced onions this time.  I've also used basil and italian seasoning in the past.

Rinse the chicken and discard the bag of "extras."

Place in your dish (I always put mine in so the legs are on top) and pour olive oil on the chicken.  Use a bit more than a drizzle, but don't douse it in oil.  I try to just leave a thin film of oil on the surface of the chicken.  Then sprinkle on the salt, pepper, and your choice of herbs (you really can choose whatever you like).  I use enough herbs to cover the top of the chicken.  I think of it as a crust for the chicken.

Then, just put it in the oven on a low heat (like 200 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least 8 hours.  To get a nicely browned skin, take the lid off and increase the temperature (try 300) for the last 30 minutes to an hour of cooking.  

Every time I have served this, my guests loved it.  A few things I have learned, though, are these--if you cook two chickens at once, which is twice as much yumminess, it makes a ton of juice, and you want to be careful of overflowing your dish.  Also, it is best to serve the bird in the dish you cooked it in, because as soon as you touch it with a fork, it will fall to pieces.  No one has ever complained about the presentation.  They are too busy asking for seconds ;)

I hope you'll try this chicken.  It is worth the effort.  If you do try it, leave a comment and tell me how it went!

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