Thursday, March 11

Roasted Whole Chicken on a Celery Rack

Roasted Whole Chicken Cooked on a Celery Rack
It was the first 60-degree day with a sunny sky and I had just taken advantage of a great whole chicken sale -- $.79 a pound (with store card). Wow! A four-pound Perdue whole chicken for under four bucks! That's a steal. As I gauge everything by my willingness to pay the cost of a delivered pizza, I gladly handed over $20 plus tax for five beauties. The bulk of my purchase was going to be cut up and frozen but, at least, one was going straight to the pot.

Now, I know that you're hearing a lot today about not having to clean your chickens when you get them home. Trust me, for the little bit of whatever value you lose in cleaning the bird, wash it off. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's all done by machines and little gloved gnomes that keep it clean as a whistle. Don't believe it.) You know that things fall, bags break, packages tear open, parts spill, people sneeze -- do I need to go on? I'll bet no one's palate in your family is so sensitive that they're going to know you washed the bird. I'm not talking about drawing it a bath, candles, and soft music. Just let the water run over the inside and outside, then pat dry with a soft cloth or paper towels.

[Psssst! Do you really want to hear the retraction from your hospital bed on the no-need-to-wash theory that is bound to come right after a lawsuit is filed because someone got something that could be traced directly back to the butcher who had the only case of...well, you get the picture...wash the bird.]

Vegetables Used Wisely Make a Great Roasting Rack
The first thing to do is turn on your oven to 250-degrees F. or, for the solar oven, by opening the reflectors and pointing it toward the sun at least a half hour before use. Then, it's back inside to figure out a recipe and what spices to use.

Oh! Oh! Just have to throw this in. Ever since I've alphabetized and used one of my cabinet doors for my most-used herbs and spices, cooking decisions are so much easier. Seeing them helps me to get a sense of taste and smell for combinations as I glance over the little containers. Not to mention the cabinet space gained. Here's a picture.

Some labels still need to be printed up. Pad is for recipes I'm doing. Pen is for kitchen notes and is a very handy place to keep it. These are solid plastic nickel holders with screw-on caps. The larger bulk containers are kept fresh in the freezer for refilling, as needed.

Back to the chicken dinner and what's in the fridge.

Step One: Clean chicken and remove excess fat from skin flaps. Set aside. Clean, pare, and roughly chop two sweet onions, one green onion, two kohlrabi, two apples, and place in a ring on the bottom of roasting pan. Cut clean and stringed celery stalks into two-inch pieces and place open side down in center of roasting pan. This is your roasting rack.

Step Two:  Make an herbed butter: 4.5 Tablespoons butter; 1/2 teaspoon each of Sweet Basil and Marjoram leaves; 1/4 teaspoon each of Mace, Ginger, Fenugreek; 1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper; 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce. Mix thoroughly. (Mixture will be somewhat fluid) Place chicken over celery rack. Using a rubber spatula, gently separate skin from muscle across body. Slowly pour 3/4 of mixture under skin to cover muscle.
Step Three:  Secure legs with string or small rubber band. Gentle pour remaining butter mixture over chicken. Cover and put in conventional oven or place in SolarWear(TM) Carrier Set to make it easier to place in and remove from solar oven.

Step Four: Check solar oven for temperature of at least 225-degrees F. and place roaster in oven. At 1:30PM, the solar oven was ready at 250-degrees F.

Step Five: If you really wanted to be scientific, you could have done TWO chickens and checked the timing against your conventional oven, but if not, you can do one of two things: one, check for doneness after about 2-1/2 hours, or, two, just wait till the sun goes down.  I took my chicken out when the winter sun was below the top of my six-foot fencing at four-thirty (3 hours). Conventional oven - 3 hrs. = 15,000BTUs; solar oven - 3 hrs. = FREE!

Beautiful! Veggies are delicious, just the right texture, and cooked through but not mushy. AND no metal rack to clean!

This is a breast removed so you can see that it's been cooked through.

Put it all together, and ring the bell!

A Whole Chicken is the Sum of Its Parts and More
When there's a sale on whole chickens, try to stock up. It saves so much money and, in today's economy, every little bit helps. Don't know how to cut it just right? Check out for some great instructions. Of course, it's not mentioned that you can also render or save the fat for schmaltz. It'll take a while for them to catch up with you who are now in the know. And, the process is the same for all fowl, so it's very handy at turkey time, too.  And, of course, for you really sharp folk, YouTube has a gazillion (well, at least five) videos you can follow. Happy savings!


  1. I love celery and chicken so this is a good combo for me. What a great idea. Now I'm hungry.

  2. Yes! Always wash the bird! Just takes a couple of minutes extra.

    That chicken looks delicious, but I´m not a big fan of celery though.
    Have a great day now!

  3. For those of you on both sides of the celery fence, the celery can become a part of your meal or simply used as a flavoring chicken rack, and then discarded! The chicken is delicious -- all of it. Every bit of it. Yes...

  4. Now I have the image of a chicken bathing in my kitchen sink, surrounded by candles holding a glass of wine stuck in my head!

  5. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

    As long as you don't find the chicken smoking a cigarette you will be fine...

  6. S - That is a great deal! I agree with you on washing the chicken and disassembling it yourself. It's not that much work, and you get so many extras to make your own chicken stock. Wonderful isn't it?!

  7. I have no clue what you mean about washing the bird before you eat it... I soak mine in brine... is that okay?

    Stopping by from SITS- welcome!

  8. Solar Oven Chef and Priscilla: Tooo funny! Too, too, funny!

    Fresh L&B: It certainly is. By washing, I mean that when you take the chicken out of the packaging, it should be washed in running water. My dad was a meat-cutter. All meats should be washed before using or storage. Soaking in brine is pretty much the same thing. You're trying to kill bacteria, etc. and brine is super at that.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  9. "I'm not talking about drawing it a bath, candles, and soft music" --LOL too cute, you!

  10. Christina: Thankyouverymuch [taking bow]. So glad you stopped by.

    For some reason, I can't post comments to your site and the email pops back undeliverable. Am I missing something? Help me, if you can.

  11. That is an amazing spice rack. I don't have any upper cabinets. I think it would drive me batty to have to lean over or bend down to get to them all the time.

    I remember this post now....heh

  12. What a great idea. I love celery and chicken!


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