Romertopf Roasted Chicken

romertpf roasted chicken - trust in kim

Ah, roast chicken, comfort food and so easy to make.  Of course you can just go buy one from the grocery store… or you could fill your house with the scent of roasting chicken and treat the ones you love to something homemade.  I made mine in a Romertopf, a clay roaster with a lid that you soak before using, but you can make it in any covered roasting dish.  The Romertopft keeps the chicken really moist, and you can just throw the chicken with some herbs, potatoes and veggies into your oven and forget about it while you get other parts of the meal ready.

What you need:

a chicken, preferably free-range

1-2 tablespoons room temperature butter (or olive oil)

thyme  (preferably fresh)

rosemary  (preferably fresh)

sage (preferably fresh)

paprika

salt

pepper

1 head of garlic

small potatoes halved

pearl onions, or a large onion cut into chunks

dry white wine, optional

What you do:

1. If you are using a Romertopf soak it for at least 15-20 minutes before using. This provides some moisture for the cooking process, and keeps the roaster from cracking.

2. Spread the butter all over the skin of the chicken.

3. In a bowl combine a little of each of the thyme, rosemary, paprika and pepper, and a liberal amount of salt.  Rub this into the skin of the chicken.  If you have fresh sage or thyme you can put some under the breast skin, along with a few cloves of garlic.

4. Distribute the potatoes and a few onions in a layer on the bottom of the roaster, then place the chicken on them, breast side up.  If you have any more potatoes and onions you can put them in around the edges of the chicken with the rest of the garlic.  If you have some white wine on hand you can add a few splashes of that.

5.  Place the cover on the roaster, then put it in a cold oven – this is important to prevent the romertopf from cracking when it goes into a hot oven.  If you are using a different roaster you can preheat the oven.  Turn the temperature to 4ooF and set the timer for 1 & 1/2 hours. You can leave it to cook without peeking; this will help keep all the moisture inside.

6.  After the 1 & 1/2 hours of cooking time, remove the roaster from the oven. Test to see if it’s cooked all the way through by cutting into the leg joint to see if the juices run clear.  If not, return it to the oven for a little longer.  As well, if the skin doesn’t look browned, pop it back in without the lid and let it brown a little.  Once it is done let it sit with the cover on for about 20 minutes before carving.  I like to ladle a little of the juices over the chicken, and you could also make a gravy with the juices.

I keep the bones and excess juices in the freezer for a day when I want to make a stock.

Roast Chicken in a Romertopf Clay Roaster

I love a roast chicken because it’s delicious, you can cook a whole meat in one dish, and you get to make soup out of the bones.  I have a Romertopf clay baker, but had never used it for cooking a chicken – if you don’t have one, you can use any other covered dish that fits a chicken and all these veggies.  I found this to be a great dish to make for company, because I could throw it in the oven an hour before anyone came over, and then I had time to do some of the last minute jobs, such as relaxing a bit.

What you need:

a whole roasting chicken

1 lemon

a few springs of thyme

salt and pepper

a few potatoes

a sweet potato

a few carrots

1 bulb of garlic

1 onion

butter or olive oil

a few splashes of white wine (optional)

What you do:

1. Immerse the Romertopf  in water for 15-30 minutes.  This needs to be done to avoid cracking when it is in the oven.

2.  Cut up all the veggies and place them in the bottom of the roaster.  I also placed some around the sides of the chicken.

3.  Run your fingers between the skin and breast of the chicken to loosen the skin up.  Push a few springs of thyme under the skin.  Rub the chicken with a little butter or olive oil.  Place it, breast side up, in the roaster.  Stick the lemon whole or cut in half into the cavity of the chicken.  Salt and pepper the chicken and veggies liberally, and add a few splashes of wine.  Add some more thyme on top of the veggies.  I also put in a rosemary branch.  Put the lid on top of the baking dish.

4.  Place the Romertopf baker in a cold oven, then turn it up to 400F.  If you are using another type of baker, feel free to preheat the oven.  Let the chicken bake for 1 & 1/2 hours.  I didn’t even peek at mine, hoping for the best, and it turned out perfect.  Mine browned with the lid on, but if you find yours is still a little pale, feel free to pop it back in the oven for a few minutes.

5.  Let the chicken rest for about 20 minutes with the lid on before carving it.

There was quite a bit of liquid in the bottom of the baking dish, so I pulled the chicken out and drained it.  Because the chicken is literally ‘falling off the bone,’ it was a little difficult to take it out whole, so you could use a turkey baster to remove the liquid.

See this link for chicken broth.  You can use the bones and skin instead of the chicken pieces the recipe calls for.  If you didn’t make gravy with it, you could also add the juices that were drained off.