It’s no secret that I like to cook. I wouldn’t be doing this blog if I didn’t like to cook. And while I really enjoy cooking I also like to keep cooking easy. And by easy I mean not only the actual cooking part but the cleaning up part as well.
When I was growing up we didn’t have a dishwasher. We still don’t. My Mom and Dad for some reason always thought it wasted water. I guess I will chalk it up to them being old school. Growing up without a dishwasher is one of the reasons I think I am obsessed with “One Pot Wonders”. Back then and even now I don’t want to have deal with a ton of dishes. The less dishes I have to do the better. The less dishes that have to be done the easier it is to make dinner. The less dishes I have to think about the more I can enjoy my dinner. If I know there isn’t a war zone in the kitchen that I have to go all Seal Team 6 on once I am done chowing, I know I can enjoy my meal stress free.
Which brings me to my Junk in the Trunk Chicken recipe. This dish is so easy that even if you think you can’t cook you can do this. Even if you think you don’t have time to cook you can do this. And even if you have no one to cook for but yourself you can do this.
I said that last line because those of us that are a couple of two or party of one think that cooking a whole chicken is a whole lotta of chicken. But a whole lotta chicken is a good thing. Dinner leftovers can not only be turned into chicken soup or chicken salad but whatever chicken you have left over can also be frozen to use later. And don’t toss that chicken carcass. If you don’t have time to make chicken stock right then and there throw that in the freezer and make the stock another day. Call it my middle class roots or the fact that I hate waste, but not a bit of frickin’ chicken ever has or ever will get thrown away in my house.
Besides the fact that this is a one pot dish the other thing I love about this recipe is that there are tons of variables. Literally whatever junk you have laying around you can stuff in to your chicken. I mean within reason of course. I am certainly not suggesting you shove a Twix bar in there, but stuffing the chicken with various fruits, vegetables and herbs impart flavor and keep the chicken moist.
The other secret is roasting the vegetables right in and under the chicken. The veggies cook with the chicken and get their sweet little drippings. And, again, it is all done in one pot.
Go out today and buy a chicken. Make this chicken. And the best part about this bitchin’ chicken is that there will be no bitchin’ when it’s done!
Junk in the Trunk Chicken
For the chicken
- 1 whole chicken (approx. 4 – 5 pounds)
- Choice of 1 lemon, 1 apple or 1 orange cut in quarters
- Choice of several sprigs of thyme, parsley, sage or rosemary
- Choice of one head of garlic cut in half or one small onion cut in quarters
For the side veggies
- Choice of golden beets, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, carrots, parsnips, onion, turnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Remove the giblets from the chicken, wash the chicken inside and out with cold water, then pat dry with paper towels. I really don’t know why we wash a chicken. My grandmother did this, so I do this and now so should you.
Line a roasting pan with tin foil (even easier clean up, yo!).
Place the chicken breast-side up in a roasting pan with a rack. If you don’t have a rack no biggie. Once you add the veggies they will act as a rack of sorts. If you are rackless then throw a little olive oil in the pan to prevent the chicken from sticking.
Start stuffing the chicken with whatever you chose. For example try a lemon, garlic and thyme combo. Or maybe try an apple, onion and sage combo.
Tuck the wings under the chicken and tie the legs together with kitchen twine. This prevents the wings from burning and the legs from cooking too fast.
Drizzle some olive oil over the top of the chicken and lightly salt and pepper.
Place the chicken on the rack and roast for 30-45 minutes. Watch the chicken to make sure it isn’t browning too fast. Keep the temp at 425 longer if you are browning slower.
While the chicken is cooking peel whatever vegetables need peeling and cut into chunks. If brussels were your choice they can be thrown in whole.
After the 45 minute mark lift the chicken out of the pan and place on a plate.
Reduce oven heat to 375°F.
Throw veggies into the pan. Add olive oil and lightly salt and pepper. Toss the veggies around. Add chicken back to pan and put back in oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes. The chicken is done once the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh or until the meat thermometer reads 165-175°F. Me, personally, I like to err on the side of caution and cook my clucker a little longer to make sure it is done.
Remove the chicken to a carving board and let rest 20 minutes.
Toss the veggies around in the pan to get all the juices incorporated. If the veggies need a little extra love throw them back in the oven to finish them off.
Cut the twine from the legs and carve.
Place chicken on dinner plates along with some veggies and serve.