From the popular blog Adventures in Cooking comes our favorite poultry book in recent memory. Adventures in Chicken helps take the world’s most beloved meat from “been there, done that” to “I can’t wait to cook tonight!” Join author Eva Kosmas in reinventing this humble bird to a thing of true beauty. Everyone knows that bacon and maple go together beautifully. Invite chicken to the party and watch that hungry crowd descend.
I just may have stuffed strips of bacon under the skin of the chicken for this one. This is wonderful in two ways (well, it’s wonderful in a variety of ways, but for brevity’s sake I’m just going to focus on two): First, the chicken skin gets nice and crispy while roasting, but instead of only tasting like chicken skin, it also tastes like bacon. And second, since the bacon is under the skin, its flavors are relatively trapped under there and so, with nowhere else for the bacon juices to go, they start to seep into the breast meat of the bird, turning a relatively moderately flavored cut of meat into a delightfully bacon-filled fillet. Oh, and I also marinated the bird in maple beforehand. Mmmmmmm.
Maple Marinade and Chicken
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- 1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds), innards removed
To Roast The Chicken
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons pure maple sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 strips thick-cut bacon
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- chicken stock
- 10 large sprigs fresh rosemary
For the chicken
To marinate the chicken, whisk together the stock, maple syrup, vinegar, olive oil, salt and thyme until combined. Coat the chicken inside out with the mixture and place in a resealable gallon-size plastic bag, emptying any excess marinade into the bag. Press out as much air as possible before sealing. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.
To roast the chicken, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Remove the chicken from the bag, rinse off any excess marinade, and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the bird down with 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup, inside and out, getting under the skin of the chicken breast while taking care not to tear the skin. (To do so, gently lift the skin off the breast with one hand and with a small paring knife in the other hand, carefully cut through the fat membrane that runs down the center of the chicken breast, taking care not to puncture the skin. Once the membrane has been cut, you should be able to place your hand under the skin of the entire front of the chicken, rather than one side or the other.)
In a small bowl, whisk together the maple sugar, 1 teaspoon of the salt, 3/4 teaspoon of the rosemary, and the black pepper. Coat the chicken inside and out with the spice mixture.
Cut 2 of the bacon slices in half. Wedge them flat under the breast skin of the bird, so the four strips of bacon lie side by side under the breast skin.
Dice the remaining 2 strips of bacon. In a bowl, toss together the diced bacon, onion, olive oil, remaining 1 tablespoon maple syrup, remaining ¾ teaspoon rosemary, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt until combined. Empty the mixture into a small roasting pan and pat down to create a bed. Pour stock into the pan until it is 1/2 inch deep.
Place the chicken in the pan, breast facing up. Place 2 large sprigs of the rosemary in the cavity of the bird and place the remaining 8 in the pan around the chicken. Truss the bird. Tent the entire pan with tinfoil, making sure none of it touches the skin.
Roast, rotating the pan once to ensure even cooking, for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the internal temperature of a thigh reaches 165°F. Remove the tinfoil tent for the last 20 minutes of cooking to allow the skin to brown slightly.
Allow the chicken to rest for 20 minutes before carving and serving.