A few weeks ago, we took a trip to Oregon. While we were there, we took a trip to Powell's Books, the best bookstore in the world (no really, it's an entire city block full of awesome). I spent a little bit of time in the cookbook section, and decided to pick up Cheap. Fast. Good! This particular recipe jumped out at me because it sounded almost too simple to be any good, but this note in the margin convinced me to try it:
"When my friend Susan Umstead told me about her family's favorite chicken dinner, I was a bit dubious. IT sounded way too easy to be as fantastic as she promised. Then when I got the flu one winter, Susan appeared at my door bearing her signature chicken. My family couldn't stop raving. Indeed, this is one of those 'less is more' recipes, and once you try it, you may never cook chicken any other way."
I cooked it using the alternative method (slow cooker), and even though the chicken was a little bigger than the recipe called for and was partially frozen on the inside when I started cooking it, the results were incredible. I still don't quite understand how 6 ingredients (plus water) can make such a delicious meal, but I'll definitely be making it again in the future.
A Chicken In Every Pot
- 3 medium-size carrots
- 2 medium-size ribs celery
- 2 large onions
- 4 medium-size potatoes
- 2 teaspoons seasoning salt
- 1 whole chicken (about 3½ pounds), defrosted if frozen
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Peel the carrots and cut them into 1-inch pieces. Place the carrots in a 4½-quart or larger Dutch oven or electric slow cooker (see notes). Cut the celery into 1-inch pieces and add them to the pot. Peel the onions and potatoes, quarter them, and add them to the pot. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the seasoning salt evenly over the vegetables.
- Remove the neck and any giblets that might be in the cavity of the chicken. Rinse the chicken inside and out with cold tap water, removing and discarding any excess fat. Place the chicken, breast side up, in the pot on top of the vegetables. Rearrange the vegetables, if necessary, to make sure the pot lid closes tightly. Sprinkle the remaining 1 teaspoon seasoning salt evenly over the chicken. Pour ½ cup water into the pot alongside the chicken (taking care not to pour it over the chicken) and cover the pot.
- Bake the chicken until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 180°F when inserted into the thigh (do not touch the bone), about 1½ hours.
- Lift the chicken from the pot and place it, breast side down, on a large cutting board or serving platter. Use kitchen shears to cut through the chicken along both sides of the backbone. Remove and discard the backbone (or save it for stock). Cut around each leg to separate it. Using a sharp knife, cut the breast in half down the middle. Arrange the 4 pieces of the chicken on a platter.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables from the pot or slow cooker and arrange them around the chicken. Spoon a little of the chicken broth over the platter and serve.
Alternative cooking method: The chicken can be cooked in a slow cooker. Follow steps 1 through 3 above, then cook in a covered slow cooker on low for 7 to 8 hours, The chicken is done when it registers 180°F on an instant-read meat thermometer in the thigh portion. Follow step 5 above to serve.
I used yellow onions and 2 large russet potatoes instead of 4 medium potatoes.