Roasted Whole Chicken
Roasted Whole Chicken is just that, a whole bird that is cooked whole, after it has been killed and cleaned with the giblets kept in the bird’s cavity. Whole birds are readily available at grocery stores in the West and if you’re unable to find a processed bird at the stores in Nigeria, you’re in luck, because you can get it fresh at the meat market! Nothing like fresh meat.
I imagine you’d just ask the butcher to kill and clean the bird for you without cutting it. It might be easier if you ask that they clean the innards, but keep the giblets (kidney, heart and gizzards).
It’s relatively easy to roast a whole bird (chicken or turkey being my preferences) and I will say though, that it kinda creeps me out (juuust a little) when I’m handling the bird to cook it. See, I’m terrified of live birds, my mum used to kill chickens back home and the sight of the mass of feathers laying there was oh so traumatizing to me!
To this day, I can’t hold a live or dead bird with feathers on it and holding a processed bird from the store just takes me a little bit to the edge. I have to control myself from freaking out and just running away from the sink, so I’ve learned to season etc in record time, lol, a case of mind over matter I tell you.
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Forget Rotisserie Chicken at the stores, you can make your own! To learn how to make Roasted Whole Chicken, here’s what you’ll need:
Recipe Cost: $10.65 Prep: 15 mins Cook: 2 hrs Difficulty: Beginner Serves: 3-4
- 1 s/m whole chicken
- 1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil
- 6 Maggi Cubes (single type) OR 3 Knorr cubes (double type)
- 1 tbsp dried red pepper
- 1 m white or yellow onion
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1 knob ginger
- 3 carrots
1. Rinse whole chicken under cold running water and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2. Remove giblets located in the bird’s cavity, rinse giblets and cavity with cold water
3. Cut off extra flaps of fat
4. Pat bird dry with paper towel or napkins
5. Crush some ginger and garlic, slice onions and scrape carrots
6. Crush Maggi or Knorr cubes and add dry red pepper, mix together
7. Pour coconut oil and massage all over chicken
8. Rub maggi/pepper mix and crushed ginger/garlic outside and inside of chicken. Add some onions and carrots into cavity along with giblets
9. Close fat flaps and put chicken into roasting pan
10. Add some sliced onions under chicken breast skin and in corners of wings and thighs
11. Put roasting pan into oven, still at 350 degrees, roast for 2 hours.
12. Chicken an hour later
13. Chicken two hours later
14. All done!
- While rinsing the bird, be sure to do a thorough rinse with cold water and pluck off any straggler feathers.
- For Knorr or Maggi cubes that are hard to crush by hand, I add a few tablespoons of water to a bowl along with the cubes and microwave for a few seconds, then crush with a fork.
- You should take care not to cut off all the fat from the bird, especially the ones around the bottom cavity. Some fat flaps you can simply peel off while you might have to use kitchen scissors or a knife to cut off the rest. You don’t want to cut off too much fat because the fat will serve as moisture whilst the bird is roasting.
- You also don’t need to oil down the roasting pan as the bird will release its juices from the fat melting/crisping up.
- It’s super important to keep the size of the bird in mind. The bird I cooked was on the medium side and cooking at 350 degrees for 2 hours ensured a result that was fully cooked, yet moist. The longer you cook the bird, the more it dries out, you want juicy not dry.
- For a bigger bird, be sure to cook longer. If you poke the bird with a sharp object and the juices run clear, it might appear cooked until you get to the bone and then you see blood, so you don’t want to cook at 400 degrees, because the outside will cook faster than the inside, giving a false impression of being cooked.
- Salmonella is real! You most definitely don’t want food poisoning, slow and even cooking at 350 degrees, I’ve found to work, so adjust accordingly.
- To de-construct or carve the bird, cut off the wings and thighs first
- Then cut down the center of the bird, dividing it in half with one breast on each side
- Carefully cut off each chicken breast, then you’ll be left with the back, which will still have some meat that you can use on salads or just pick and eat.
- Keep in mind that because the back of the bird is not as exposed to the heat in the oven, it won’t crisp up as the breast. If you want it to crisp up, just return it to the oven, skin side up.
- You don’t have to use coconut oil, neither does it have to be unrefined. You can use room temperature butter or any other kind of oil e.g Canola, Vegetable Oil etc. I wouldn’t recommend Olive Oil as the health benefits of it are eliminated when cooked at high temperatures.
- If you don’t care for garlic and/or ginger, they can be optional.
- You also don’t have to use carrots, any fruits you have on hand can also work. For instance, I’ve used apples and lemons in the past. Just work with whatever you got!
Carve up the bird and arrange on a plate. Serve with fried/jollof rice, eat it alone, whatever you like, it’s chicken!