Everything but the Bagel Seasoning is really everywhere but the bagel these days. Somewhere along the line we started putting that stuff on everything. I'm here to report that is absolutely delicious when used as a rub for oven roasted chicken. That classic everything flavor seeps into the skin and meat as the bird roasts and creates a deeper flavor than what is achieved in other roasted chicken recipes.
The combination of garlic, onion, salt, poppy seeds, and sesame seeds is something that goes well with almost any food imaginable. I've seen it used it on salmon, vegetables, homemade bread, roasted potatoes, avocado toast, the list goes on. Since I do not typically gravitate towards pre-mixed spices or rubs, I'd never bought this seasoning before very recently.
During my last trip to Trader Joes I picked up a jar of their Everything but the Bagel Seasoning and was determined to use it in a new and unique way. I started brainstorming on my walk home, but my ideas were all pretty inside-the-box. I was excited nonetheless.
About a week later, I found myself struggling to come up with an easy seasoning blend for my whole roasted chicken. I simply didn't feel like using my usual blend of salt/pepper/thyme, and unfortunately, I ran out of my other favorite Trader Joe's seasoning- Dukkah. That's when I knew it was time to crack open the Everything Seasoning.
The Chicken-Roasting Process
This recipe utilizes my tried-and-true roasted chicken routine, in which I heavily coat the entire bird in seasoning, place half of a lemon up its little birdie booty, tie its legs together, and place it on a roasting rack set above a variety of seasoned rainbow root vegetables and chicken broth.
It's really important to put a generous amount of seasoning all over the bird's skin and inside its cavity. Lightly seasoned everything chicken is no fun, just like lightly seasoned everything bagels are no fun.
The 4.5 pound chicken and vegetables roast at 350F for about 2 hours. You just have to stir the vegetables and rotate the pan about half way through to ensure even cooking. Then, when the chicken is cooked, you'll transfer it onto a cutting board and set it aside. Chickens benefit from resting just like many other meats do, and there's no reason to burn yourself tryng to cut a whole chicken fresh out of the oven.
While the chicken rests, the vegetbales go back into the oven, this time with the addition of a can of peas, and roast at 450F for another 15-20 minutes to cook through and allow them to soak up most of the chicken broth and schmaltz, which will further infuse them with chickeny, everything flavor. Schmaltz is a Yiddish word meaning rendered poultry fat, which drips down into the vegetables as the chicken roasts.
I remember my mother and great grandmother making roasted chicken together quite often when I was younger. Theirs always came out incredibly juicy and I loved the taste of the vegetbales and canned peas after cooking in stock and rendering chicken fat for so long. So even though I don't know their exact roasted chicken recipe, the use of chicken stock is how I approximate it best.
I like to use homemade chicken stock. In fact, after you eat your roasted chicken, you should make a stock by boiling the carcass and some celery, onion, and/or carrots in a lot of water for a couple hours. You can then freeze it in small containers if you don't plan on using it over the course of the next week.
This recipe is quite simple, but it is also so quite useful to have certain equipment to make the process go even more smoothly.
Thermoworks Thermapen Mk4
You shouldn't have to guess when your chicken is cooked, so please buy an instant read thermometer. You will use it all the time. I use mine almost every day. The entire chicken should read 160 degrees or higher. Check the breast and a spot between the breast and the leg, close to the bone.
Thermoworks makes an excellent instant read thermometer, the Thermapen Mk4 that provides an accurate reading in 1-2 seconds. It has completely changed the way I cook, in that it has made me infinitely more confident in cooking any type of meat. It's somewhat expensive compared to some other brands, but the quality makes it absolutely worth it.
Another crucial item to have is a large roasting pan, for its sheer size and center rack. It is important that the pan is big enough for all of the many vegetbales in this recipe, and that the chicken can be set above these vegetables to help flavor them. I dont have much experience with different roasting pans, but this is the one I have, and it gets the job done.
You'll need a good knife for carving, but it doesn't have to be a carving knife in particular. A 6" chef's knife is the most versatile knife you could have in the kitchen. This is probably a good time to recommend that if you own a chef's knife, you should also own a knife sharpener, such as this one.
I sharpen my knife about 1-2 times per month when I notice it's not quite cutting through a pepper or onion quite as easily as it did a week ago. If you have a higher end, expensive chef's knife, make sure you take care of it and have it professionally sharpened every so often.
Carving the Bird
I've learned that if you can locate the breast bone of the chicken, you're in good shape to carve it. The breast bone is the sternum, which attatches the two breasts. I start by cutting a slit in the skin between the legs and the breasts, since the skin will be tight from cooking. Then I make the first real cut right along the breast bone, to remove one breast. If it doesn't fully detatch, I make a cut from the outside to help it along. I also like to slice the breast into 1-inch pieces so everyone can take smaller pieces if they wish.
Then I locate the joints where wings and legs are attached and cut through them to remove these pieces. There's usualy a sweet spot in the joints where you won't meet too much resistance, and can cut through rather easily. Finally, I use my hands to tear off any meat that was left behind.
I've watched many YouTube videos by professional, well known chefs who all carve chickens and turkeys very well but slightly differently from one another. Try it a different way each time you roast a bird to determine your favorite way. You can watch a couple videos while your chicken is roasting since you'll have about 2 hours to study up. I love watching Jacques Pépin carve a chicken. It's as if he's carving through butter.
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