Brown Bag Chicken

Brown bag Chciken-sara_shoot4_0237 copy.jpg

For as long as I can remember, my mom has been cooking chicken in oven bags, those oven-safe plastic bags. So when I recently started roasting chicken in a brown paper bag, I felt sort of like I was going back to my roots. It works great because the paper bag traps just enough steam to make the chicken supermoist and tender, while at the same time letting enough steam to escape to allow the skin to get golden brown. It always amazes me that the bag doesn’t catch on fire— so much so that I think of this as half recipe and half magic trick. Just make sure your broiler is turned off and the bag is not touching the top of the oven.

Serves 4

One 3 – 3 1/2-pound chicken
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, cut in half
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon ground hot Hungarian paprika

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Rinse the chicken, pat dry, and remove any excess fat. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper to taste inside and out. Place the onion and rosemary inside the cavity and rub the outside of the chicken with the paprika.

3. Lay a standard-size brown paper grocery bag on its side and place the chicken inside, tying the top of the bag closed with kitchen string. Place the bagged chicken on a rimmed baking sheet in the lower third of the oven, so you have plenty of room at the top. Cook for 1 1/2 hours, remove the chicken from the oven, and carefully open the bag to release the steam. Check for doneness by inserting an internal thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh; it should read about 165 degrees and the juices should run clear when the thigh is pierced with the tip of a small knife. Let rest for about 10 minutes before carving. Slice the breasts and cut the wings, legs, and thighs into pieces. Serve warm.