Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Clay Pot Chicken

Lucky you - two photo food posts in one night!

On Saturday, I went down to San Carlos to help my dear friend Becka (and her husband and daughter) prepare for their soon-to-be-born baby (less than three weeks! ack!).  We took down and organized their Christmas decorations (plastic storage bins! hooray!), donated a giant pile of miscellaneous items (books! clothes! no longer in the backyard under a tarp!), and sorted through baby clothes (0-3 month onesies! teeny little booties!).  Oh, and we ate.  Going to their house always means good food, and this weekend was no exception.  We snacked on smoked salmon while preparing a whole roasted chicken in a clay pot (my first time doing this).  When dinnertime arrived, we also had king crab legs (because, why not, right?) and a salad with sautéed leeks (I think - I didn't make 'em, but they were green and caramelized and good).  The crab legs were slightly frozen in places, but man were they good...even though I may have cut my finger trying to break open a sharp claw.

Anyway, back to the chicken (pictured pre-oven here).  I'd never heard of this Clay Pot Chicken thing, but apparently the clay pot keeps in the moisture in a special way.  I had never roasted a whole chicken on my own before at all...so I can't say whether or not it is better than any old roasting pan, but Becka assures me that it is.  And this chicken was so moist and delicious that I'm going to take her word on it.

We laid Señorita Chickeña on a comfy bed of onions, carrots and potatoes, stuffed some lemon (and onion, carrot and potato and herbs) in her crevasse (sorry, Chickeña), and slid some butter and lemons under her skin (oh, Chickeña, you buttery belle).  We added some lemon slices to her knees, and a little pat of butter...down there...just for a little extra sump'n sump'n (is that how you spell the abbreviation of "something something"? Why does that even exist?).  Or maybe we did it to protect her modesty.  She's a modest little chicken, our Señorita Chickeña.  But boy was she delicious after an hour and a half in the oven!  Thank you for feeding us with your yummy, buttery goodness.

And yes, I know it should probably be Chiqueña, but I liked it better this way.  And it's not like Chiqueña is any more right.  I think.


  1. oh goodness, that looks AWESOME. makes me want to roast a chicken with loads of lemon slices stuffed beneath the skin. soon.

  2. It made me want to invest in a little clay pot!

  3. (Okay, weirdness. Sometimes I can comment in your blog, other times not. It's the same browser (IE, which sux) from the same computer, so WTF?)

    Anyway, that chicken picture was alarming. I couldn't tell what it was at first! All those lemon slices under the skin -- I recognized the drumsticks, but I couldn't tell what that big bag thing in between them was. Teehee!

    Roasting a chicken in dry oven heat is definitely different -- and entirely within your capabilities. Honest! I'd be happy to tutor you. I know I talk about how I never cook, but I *have* cooked in my past, and I do know how to make things, I'm just very very lazy about it.

  4. Jennifer - I don't know what's up with my commenting...I know other readers have had issues as well though. That's what I get for using a free service, I suppose. :-)

    Anyway, I know it's totally possible to roast a chicken in regular old dry oven heat...I even have a roasting pan! I just don't ever do it - seems excessive when it's just the two of us for dinner. If we were having a dinner party, however, it might be a good idea :)

  5. Jennifer, you may want to check your cookie policy--if your browser does not accept cookies from third parties, or if they are deleted as soon as you navigate away from the page, i think that affects comments. I've had better luck (here I go jinxing myself) since I changed my settings to "accept cookies until I close my browser" (though if you don't mind embedded adtrackers, as many people don't, you can just accept cookies until they expire.)

  6. Hey Kim, that looks delicious!

    The clay pot definitely does change the way it cooks, because as the water in the meat reaches a certain temp. it turns into gas. The pot keeps all that water vapor in a very tight little space, which raises the pressure a lot and forces much of the water to stay in the chicken.

    When I roast in regular oven heat, I give the chicken a thorough massage in olive oil, which creates a water tight seal around the meat. I also stuff it with a whole lemon, with dozens of holes poked in the peel. This slowly releases lemon juice into the bird from the inside out just as it is beginning to get dry.

    Also, one chicken is not too much for two people. One of the best parts of roasting a chicken is leftovers! How else are we supposed to make chicken salad? Chicken curry? Chicken sandwiches? Chicken Gumbo!!

    I have also had commenting issues, but only very rarely... well I guess if it was perfect a bunch of IT guys would be out of a job!

  7. Thanks for the great info, Gabe! And yeah. Duh. Delicious things to do with chicken leftovers!