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Paper-Bag Baked Chicken

Paper-Bag Baked ChickenHere's a unique and easy way to roast a whole chicken. The result is chicken that is incredibly moist and tender with a delicious roasted flavor. The recipe uses dual cooking temperatures and has quite a lengthy roasting time (2 hours). As crazy as it sounds, it really does work!
A Family-Favorites Recipe.

Recipe Ingredients:

1 (3 1/2 to 4-pound) whole chicken
1 small onion, peeled
1 lemon with peel, washed and sliced
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil*
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large clean brown paper bag

Sauce: (optional)
2 tablespoons chicken fat or butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups liquid (see recipe directions)
1 teaspoon chicken base or bouillon granules**
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Hot cooked jasmine or long grain rice for accompaniment (optional)

Cooking Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C).
  2. Clean chicken inside and out; thoroughly dry. Freeze neck and giblets for another use or discard. Brush or rub oil over the outside of chicken (see tip below). Distribute the salt and pepper evenly inside and out.
  3. Next place the whole, peeled onion and lemon slices inside the cavity of chicken. Place chicken into brown paper bag. Place bagged chicken into a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Making sure paper bag is rolled up tightly and tucked underneath chicken.
  4. Place chicken into preheated oven and bake for exactly 1 hour.
  5. Reduce heat to 350°F (175°C) and continue baking for exactly 1 hour more. (Total cooking time: 2 hours.)
  6. Remove chicken and let set for 10 minutes before serving.
  7. For Sauce: Drain the juices from pan, scraping any "flavor" bits off the bottom, into a 2-cup glass measure. If using the chicken fat, spoon 2 tablespoons fat off the surface and place in a small sauce pan. Remove any remaining fat and discard, if desired. Add enough water to chicken juices in the glass measure to equal 2 cups liquid.
  8. Heat the 2 tablespoons chicken fat or butter in saucepan, add the flour, stirring constantly, and cook for 1 minute. While stirring constantly, slowly pour in the 2 cups liquid; bring to a boil and cook until thickened, about 3 minutes. Taste and season with chicken base, salt and pepper, as needed.
  9. Serve chicken with a side of hot cooked rice, the sauce, the onion cut into wedges and the roasted lemon slices, if desired. (Personally, I find the lemon slices too bitter for my taste, but do give them a try, you just might like them.)

Makes 6 servings.

*Tip: Omit the oil and use a vegetable spray, preferably canola or olive, to make quick and easy work of "oiling" the bird.

**I prefer and use Redi-Base soup bases available at www.redibase.com.

Flavor Variation: If you like garlic, toss 2 or 3 whole, peeled cloves inside the bird along with the onion and lemon. Also a sprig or two of fresh tarragon adds wonderful flavor, too.

Recipe and photograph by Hope Pryor; copyright © 1999; property of CooksRecipes.com. See Terms of Use.