Rotisserie chicken has long been a family favorite in our house. Our previous grill made simple chicken dinners a real treat. It had a long grated back burner, an attachable spit, and a motorized spinner so our chicken cooked evenly with crispy skin on all sides. It was the perfect way to utilize the whole bird. But, unfortunately, over the summer we had to replace our beautiful rotisserie-outfitted grill. Even though the grill was in desperate need of replacement, I almost considered keeping two grills on our back deck. One for our typical grilling needs, and one for our rotisserie. But realizing how impractical that is, we donated the old, and in came the new (to us) Weber grill. We’ve since missed doing our weekly whole chicken on the spit. A basic oven-roasted chicken had to suffice until I discovered the Roots & Harvest Chicken Cooker.
This simple piece of handcrafted pottery is the answer to our crispy chicken skin prayers. Better yet, its deep outer well and center cup provides a vessel to catch all of those beautiful chicken drippings and infuse the dinner with extra flavor. What some might attempt to accomplish with beer-can-chicken, this chicken cooker takes to a whole new level.
The possibilities are endless with this one-pot-wonder, but I will share one of my new favorite dinners. We keep things simple yet delicious, so our dinners usually consist of a protein, vegetable, and a starch (which sometimes is another vegetable). While chicken, carrots, and potatoes are a classic dinner combo, the daikon might be a new vegetable to you and your family. Daikon looks like a white carrot, similar to a parsnip, but has the flavor of a red radish. The slightly spicy, crunchy raw daikon makes for a zesty salad that compliments the savory chicken and creamy potatoes. If you’re looking for a quick and easy dinner that’s both nourishing and easy to clean up, look no further.
Materials: Roots & Harvest Chicken Cooker
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
Rinse and slice the potatoes in half. Add them to the outer ring of the chicken cooker. Next slice onions into thin strips (julienne) and roughly chop garlic. Add onions and garlic to the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. You can add a few scoops of coconut oil or tabs of butter to the potato mixture. As the chicken cooks, the fat will drain into the outer well and coat the potatoes but I find that adding some fat in the beginning keeps the potatoes from browning too quickly.
You can choose to fill the center cup of the Chicken Cooker with a liquid or seasoning (beer, smashed garlic cloves, half a lemon, sprigs of fresh herbs, etc.) or leave it empty. Either way, it will catch the drippings from inside the cavity which you can use to garnish your dish or dump into chicken stock made from the carcass (directions below).
Now put your whole chicken on the chicken cooker by placing it on the center cup using the cavity opening (legs at the bottom, as if the chicken is standing up). It can take a minute to secure the chicken. Don’t be afraid to use both hands.
Once your chicken is on, wash your hands and season the outside of the bird with salt and pepper.
Roast the chicken in the oven for 1 ½ - 2 hours depending on the size of the chicken. If you’re using a meat thermometer to check your chicken’s doneness, make sure it has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit before serving.
As your chicken cooks, assemble your raw carrot and daikon salad. Wash and/or peel your carrots and daikon. It’s easiest to grate both the carrot and daikon with a basic box grater. If your daikon has turned slightly soft, you can cut it into thin match-sticks (julienne). Thinly slice the red onion and add it to a medium sized bowl along with the shredded or chopped daikon + carrots. Add vinegar, dried dill, salt, and pepper. Stir then cover and place in your fridge to chill before serving.
Once your chicken is cooked through, carve the bird and serve alongside the roasted potatoes and raw veggie salad. Be sure to scoop any chicken drippings over your potatoes and serve a bite of crispy skin on every plate. The best part about cooking a whole chicken is the chicken stock made with the leftover carcass and scrap meat. If you’re new to stock-making, check out the recipe below.
Place the chicken carcass, all additional bones, and any "throwaway" scraps of meat or skin in a large stockpot. Add 6-8 cups of filtered water, or enough to cover your chicken completely. Add quality salt, herbs of your choice, and vegetable scraps to the water. Feel free to add fresh celery, carrots, or halved onions to create a more flavorful broth. Simmer your broth for 4-6+ hours on the stove, or overnight in a crockpot. If the stock is cooked uncovered on the stove, it will reduce. Be sure to keep an eye on the water level. Feel free to add additional water if the stock is evaporating too quickly.