Last night, I attempted yet another whole chicken recipe/experiment! I just can’t help it. I actually count myself lucky that my favorite protein is dirt cheap, and I can enjoy it even on my poorest days. I have read time and time again that some of the best chefs in the world love nothing better than a perfectly cooked chicken. If I had ever gone down that career path (there’s still time!), I would have been right there with them!
There are endless ways to prepare this bird and it takes on any flavor you throw it’s way. It works great with mild flavors like butter and wine, but is equally good paired with a girth-y tomato sauce or robust, in-your-face spices and peppers.
I opted for a sort of in-between these types of dish. I cooked it in a pot with whole onions, and lemon basil pesto diluted with broth. The lemon basil was from my garden and this year’s crop is perfume-y and zingy. I’m sure this could be made with sweet basil pesto (which you could even buy ready-made in a pinch), and would taste just as grand.
If you want to make dinner, but also want to hang out, then you should make this. I threw it together in about 8 minutes, and spent the rest of my evening with my lovely family (and writing my blog!).
Also, I have to mention the whole cooked onion. Eating your very own beautiful, flavor-filled onion is quite an experience, and I recommend it highly.
Please cook for your family tonight (I’m tired too)!!
You will need; 1 whole chicken (about 4 lbs), 6 small onions, skin removed & left whole (use a combo of red, yellow and white if you like), 1 head garlic, cloves separated & left in skin, 2 big sprigs lemon basil, 2 tbs lemon basil pesto (type lemon basil pesto in my search box to the right for recipe), 2 cups chicken broth, 3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, coarse sea-salt & freshly ground black pepper to season chicken.
Accompaniment suggestions: tri-color rotini pasta, boiled potatoes, sautéed spinach or other dark green, basmati rice, crusty bread.
Preheat oven 400*
1 – Wash and dry chicken. Rub skin with olive oil. Stuff with the lemon basil sprigs and set aside.
2 – Put prepared onions and garlic into bottom of heavy casserole, or dutch oven. In a bowl whisk the pesto with the broth. (My pesto was frozen so I just tossed the frozen cubes into the pot with the onions).
3 – Place the chicken on top, moving the onions over to the sides if necessary to accommodate the chicken. Pour in the broth. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cover with lid and place in preheated oven for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.
4 – Take out and check. Chicken is cooked when juices run clear when pierced with a knife between the thigh and the breast. If it is not done, place back in oven for another 15 minutes, and check again.
5 – Take out of oven and leave pot to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
I served our chicken with spinach and tri-color rotini and it was fabulous!