Roasting a chicken in a Dutch oven is a very easy thing to do. It looks complex but it’s not. The end result is delicious and an easily feed a family, probably even with a little left over.
I did this a couple of weeks ago, and reminded myself how wonderful and impressive this is.
12” Deep Dutch oven
10-12 coals below
14-16 coals above
1 whole chicken (thawed, if you bought it frozen)
a touch of crushed red pepper
2-3 large potatoes
2-3 medium to large onions.
1 14 oz can green beans (optional)
1 14 oz can whole corn (optional)
First, I got the coals lit, and let them start to get white and hot. Then, I got the chicken ready. I opened the package and let the chicken drain. I rinsed it off, then padded it dry with paper towels. poked the skin over the breast and the legs with holes so that the juices and flavors could penetrate the meat.
I sprinkled on the seasonings of the second set of ingredients, then drizzled on a little oil. I rubbed that over the surface of the chicken. I don’t list amounts here because I didn’t really pay attention to that as I was sprinkling them over the bird. Just be liberal. Except with the red pepper. Be more cautious there, if you don’t like heat.
If you’re the more precise type of chef, you could mix the spices as a blend first, tasting along the way, to get the exact blend you want.
Then, I cubed up the potatoes and the onions into 1” or 3/4” blocks and tossed them into the bottom of the Dutch oven. This will help flavor the dish, and lift the chicken up above the heat and the juices as it cooks. Plus, the potatoes and onions make great sides to add to your plates.
I put the dutch oven onto the coals, and started cooking. This is a fun kind of cooking, because I sit there and watch the coals burn. All the while, I can tell people, “Don’t bother me, I’m cooking.” Great times. Actually, it’s not a bad idea to stay with it, because you’re going to need to replenish the coals from time to time.
I cooked it for about 2 hours, total. I cooked it to an internal temperature of 175-180. In a traditional indoor oven, cooking it that long will usually dry it out. But in a Dutch oven, the juices are all trapped under the heavy lid. I cook it that long because then not only is the meat done and tender, but it also falls off the bone and the connecting tissue is broken down.
If you want some veggies as a side dish, the easiest way to do that is to drain a can of green beans and a can of corn, mix them together and pour it around the sides of the chicken when there’s only about 15-20 minutes left in the cooking.
An even better option would be to use fresh beans and fresh corn. If you do that, snap the beans, and shuck the corn. You could either cut the corn off the cob, or break the cobs into short lengths. If you use fresh veggies, add them when there’s 30-45 minutes left in the cook time.
Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including MarkHansenMusic.com and his MoBoy blog.