I’ve had a Romertopf (clay pot) for roasting meats for quite a long time, but I don’t feel like I get as much use out of it as I would like. I guess one of my new year’s resolutions will be to try to use some of my appliances more often than I do, and this can go down as a trial run.
The other thing I got that suggested this recipe was a whole pastured chicken from a local farm. We’ve been buying duck and chicken eggs from them for a while and recently they have had frozen chicken, both whole and cut up, as well. There have been some recent changes to the law which make it easier to get high quality pastured chickens from local farms, although you will have to go to the farm to get them. These chickens have much more substance than factory farmed chickens, or to put it another way, if you don’t cook them a little differently from industrial chicken, you may find them tough. Something, something, actually walking around on their actual legs. Also they will be a little older and almost certainly larger than what you will find at the grocery store.
Cooking such a chicken in a clay pot (Romertopf) is a good plan. The clay pot gets very hot and the chicken cooks quickly, but the fact that it has been well soaked keeps the chicken moist and tender. You can expect to find quite a lot more broth in the pot when it is done than when you started. Yes, the plan is that this chicken will end in soup – after it has provided 3 or 4 meals. That’s quite a lot of mileage out of a 6.7 pound chicken.
6 to 8 servings
2 to 2 1/2 hours – 30 minutes prep time
a 2 to 3 kilo (4.5 to 7 pound) whole chicken
1 medium leek
1 medium carrot
1 stalks of celery OR 1 cup peeled julienned celeriac
4 to 6 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons Hungarian Spice Blend OR Classic Poultry Seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup chicken stock
Cover the clay pot – both top and bottom – in water and soak for at least 20 minutes and up to 40 minutes. Check the oven to make sure that the racks are arranged so that it will fit into it. Take the chicken from the fridge and let it come up to room temperature as the pot pieces soak.
Wash the leeks and cut them into somewhat coarse julienne; do the same with the carrots and celery. Peel the garlic and cut it into slices.
When the soaking time is up, drain the pot well. Arrange the vegetables in the bottom of the pot and place the chicken on top. Take about half the garlic cloves and put them inside the chicken; push the other half under the skin in various places. Mix the seasoning and the salt, and put half of it inside the chicken, turning it to distribute it. Sprinkle half of the remaining seasonings mix evenly over the bottom of the chicken then turn it over and pour the vinegar and chicken stock over it. Sprinkle the remaining seasoning mix over the top of the chicken.
Put the lid over the chicken and place the clay pot in the oven. Turn on the heat to 425°F. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken. Remove the lid and roast the chicken for a further 20 to 30 minutes, until nicely browned, and the legs wiggle freely when tested. Let rest about 10 minutes before carving.
Last year at this time I made the delicious Cheesy Brussels Sprouts Bread Pudding.