Is it weird to name your dinner? It’s not like I’m calling him Bob or anything… First names are too personal for those who become my dinner. But I just couldn’t help myself, this isn’t like we’re just grilling up some pre-cut chicken breasts, this is a WHOLE chicken, and he looks like a WHOLE chicken, so, in my world, he gets a name. And I talked to him while we bathed him, rubbed him down, and stuffed him.
You know, comments such as:
“Thank you Mr. Chicken, for being our dinner, I really appreciate it.” And…
“Mr. Chicken, you do look more scrawny than those barn-raised chickens, but I know your meat will be delicious!” And…
“Oh dear, Mr. Chicken, what have they done with your head???” (At precisely which point I try to forget that I’m cooking a chicken at all.)
I sent these messages telepathically to Mr. Chicken… I didn’t want Jake to think I’d completely lost it. I had already been making some very bad jokes earlier in the day, and I’m sure he was questioning my sanity already.
But I felt good about cooking up a whole chicken. Mr. Chicken was a scavenger at a local farm. He led a happy, free-roaming life where he pecked in the grass and hopped on and off of cows and picked flies and bugs from their eyes. ‘Cause that’s how the scavenger chickens roll. Or peck. Or whatever. And scientifically, that works out best for us humans. ‘Cause that’s how we roll. Or were meant to roll. Or whatever.
I think our recipe was a great tribute to his life… How can you go wrong with olive oil, Rosemary, fresh-squeezed lemons, garlic, and onions?
- 1 fresh Whole Pastured Chicken
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 3 tablespoons chopped Rosemary
- 1 tablespoon fresh ground Black Pepper
- 2 teaspoons Sea Salt (optional… you really don’t need it with all these other great flavors)
- 1 cup Onion, chopped into large chunks
- 1 whole Lemon, quartered
- 1 tablespoon Rosemary (we used 1 whole sprig)
Preheat oven to 400. Thoroughly rinse chicken and place in a roasting pan.
Mix the minced garlic, lemon juice, and rosemary in a bowl, and coat all sides of the chicken.
Place chicken breast side up and add the fresh ground black pepper and sea salt. Add a small amount of water to the bottom of the pan.
Stuffing: Cut lemon into quarters; squeeze juice into the chicken cavity. Add onions and the already squeezed lemons to the cavity, along with the rosemary.
Cook UNCOVERED for about 10 minutes.
Reduce heat to 350. COVER chicken loosely with aluminum foil and continue to bake approximately 60-90 minutes (30 minutes per pound of chicken).
Check to see if chicken is done by making a cut inside the thigh to ensure the meat is thoroughly cooked. Remember, the texture will be slightly different with a scavenger bird. Ours turned out perfectly juicy, but the texture was still a little tough and stringy due to his scavenging way of life. He was delicious!
Happy eating! Joey