Taste: clean, strong chicken flavor, herbal, fresh from the lemon, slightly earthy from the paprika, buttery from the potatoes, sweet and rich from the carrots
It’s not in my nature to slow-cook food, I’m too spur of the moment and I like to fiddle with my food too much, but every once in a while, it’s nice to be able stick something in a pot and let it do its thing for a few hours.
Slow cooking leaves the food incredibly juicy and tender, and because it usually requires a tightly sealed vessel - you can’t afford to loose moisture otherwise your food will dry out or burn - this method effectively concentrates flavor and preserves more of the nutritional value of the food. Cooking things over the course of a few hours also has the added bonus of gradually steeping your whole house in luscious aromas, drawing the occupants to peer longingly through the oven door like a troupe of slightly sad zombies.
I used a clay pot, but you can probably use a crock pot if that’s what you have, or a dutch oven with a tightly sealed lid, what you don’t want to use is a clay cooker that has a shallow bottom and a domed lid, because that wont hold all the juices.
The recipe is deceptively simple, it requires basic ingredients, very little preparation, the only hard to find ingredient is time. You will need:
- 1 whole small to medium sized chicken (it needs to fit in your pot and leave room for the veggies)
- a few springs of fresh thyme
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 4-5 sage leaves
- 1 lemon
- sweet paprika
- 2-3 medium potatoes, or same amount of yams, or butternut squash chunks
- 2 large carrots, or parsnips
- 2 medium white onions, sliced into petals, or a handful of pearl onions peeled
- salt & pepper
- pat of butter
Rinse and pat dry the chicken, season generously with salt and pepper inside and out. Pierce the lemon so that the juices can infuse the chicken while it cooks, and place it inside the cavity along with the fresh herbs. Place the onions, carrots and potatoes at the bottom of the pot and season with salt and pepper and the paprika. Place the chicken on top, breast side down. Add the butter on top of the chicken. Close the lid tightly.
If you are using a clay pot, make a paste from a bit flour and water and apply it around the rim of the lid to seal in the moisture as much as possible. Place the pot in the oven (do not preheat) and set the temperature to 250°F. Cook it for at least 2-3 hours, I left it in for 4 and it turned out amazing.
The chicken will be falling off the bone when done, so be careful when pulling it out. Plate it with a few of the veggies and pour over some of the gravy from the pot. Sprinkle a bit of chopped parsley on top of everything before serving with a crusty piece of bread.
note: Your flavorings can be whatever you like. The key is to use hardy herbs that will hold up through the long cooking process. Sliced ginger, lemongrass, some Thai basil, and a few kaffir lime leaves will work beautifully with your chicken. If you go this route I’d also substitute some whole peeled shallots for the onions because they have a more delicate flavor. For a more earthy version, put a couple of fresh limes (halved) inside the chicken, along with a few peppercorns and some bay leaves and dust cumin generously over everything finishing it with chopped cilantro to serve.
reprinted from UmamiTV