Have you ever prepared a whole chicken before? Does it frighten you too? I must start out by saying that I already am not a big fan of touching raw meat. It is scary and kind of gross. Now, a whole chicken, well… that is absolutely terrifying. Not only is it dripping with some sort of scary red fluid, there are guts inside that you actually have to pull out. Doing this on my own turned out to be quite the task. I had chicken livers flinging across the kitchen. Some may say that the blood and guts are delicacies, but not me. I’d like to stay as far away from them as possible. The sad part is, I can’t do that if I want to make a beautiful roasted chicken. So I’ve decided to suck it up and deal with the chicken parts because this recipe was too good not to. An herbal roasted chicken cooked on a bed of potatoes, soaked in a delicious Double India Pale Ale by Dry Dock Brewing Company was what this near-disaster turned into. The end result made the treacherous process worth it and if I had to (or even if I didn’t have to) I’d do it all again to eat this tasty meal.
5 lb whole chicken
2 lbs fingerling potatoes
1 yellow onion, quartered
2-3 springs of rosemary
A good amount of Thyme
10 sage leaves
6 garlic cloves
1 stick of butter
22 oz bottle of Double India Pale Ale by Dry Dock Brewing Company
Salt and pepper to season
Preheat the oven to 425°. Start by getting all the organs out of the middle of the chicken. Just reach in the butt hole and yank them out. Yes, I know it is not actually a butt hole, but it seems like that to me. For the next part, you may want some gloves, unless you’re really brave. You must find a way to get under the skin, at either end of the chicken, and start to work your fingers under there. For the far parts that my fingers could not reach, I used a butter knife. The skin is pretty tough and won’t break easily so don’t be scared, just go for it.
Once you’ve separated a good amount of the skin from the meat, stuff most of your herbs underneath and put some in the hole (leaving a bit to go in the bedding under the chicken).
Mmm, fresh herbs.
In a large baking dish, lay out the potatoes, 4 garlic cloves, some herbs, and the onion chunks.
Place the chicken on top. Melt the butter and pour some of that under the skin and on top of the skin, letting some drip off into the potatoes. Then, pour some beer under the skin too. The remaining beer can be poured over the chicken, soaking each part, and drenching the potatoes.
Squeeze 1 lemon over the chicken and put the rinds in with the potatoes. The other lemon can be partially squeezed on top and then stuffed in the middle of the chicken with the remaining 2 garlic cloves. Tie up the little guy’s feet with some non-waxed dental floss, or twine, to keep everything inside. Liberally season the top of the chicken with salt and pepper and then roast in the oven until it reaches 155° on the inside – about an hour and a half.
Take the dish out and let it rest for 15 minutes. This will allow the meat to come up to 165° (the perfect temp!) and let all the juices soak in. After you’ve been patient and waited the full 15 minutes – you’re ready to reward yourself for all your hard chicken-maneuvering work.