Even though I eat and cook mostly vegetarian dishes, there are times when you just need chicken. This clay pot chicken was a staple in my childhood. It’s moist and tender like no other chicken I make. It’s the clay pot. This one was procured from a yard sale years ago where no one selling it knew what it was. I knew. In my family we called it a “slimmertoph,” though I’m not sure where that name came from. My has the word, “rommertoph” on it’s top lid. The method is to soak one lid of the dish in water for at least three hours before baking. I usually put both bottom and top halves in a filled sink overnight.
I seasoned this one like I season my Thanksgiving turkey, with whatever I have on hand, and a lemon. The lemon is key. I’m sure there is some food sage somewhere who could tell me why the lemon is key, but it’s something I started years ago because I had a lemon or an orange on hand and now I don’t roast poultry without a citrus. I mean, I will, I just don’t prefer it. So, grab a citrus, squeeze it, stuff some up the backside and set the other slices to rest and become part of the cooking liquid that develops as this beautiful pot does it magic.
- 1 whole chicken, neck and gizzards discarded
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 1 carrot, quartered
- 1 onion, quartered
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- thyme, handful of fresh sprigs
- sage, handful of fresh leaves
- 1 tbsp whole peppercorns
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Remove neck and gizzards from inside cavity of chicken and discard. Rinse chicken.
- Place chicken in your desired cooking pan. Place ¼ amount of lemon, onion, carrot, garlic cloves, thyme, sage, and peppercorns inside the large cavity of the chicken.
- Loosen the skin above the breasts. To do this, begin easing your fingers between the skin and meat of the breast. Be careful not to tear the skin as this will impact the juiciness while cooking.
- Place ¼ amount of thyme and sage under the skin.
- Sprinkle the remaining lemon, onion, garlic, thyme, sage, and peppercorns around the pan. The chicken can rest on these or be placed straight in the pan.
- Pour olive oil on top and sprinkle with salt.
- Cover the pan with lid and place in heated oven. Begin checking the chicken after 1 hour. Internal temperature should reach 165 degrees. Remove from oven and let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.