Stan's Chicken in a Bag

By Chef Stan Langston

Today was one of my very few days off.   In the restaurant business, that is a small miracle in itself. And, as usual, I try to stay in bed for as long as I can. I always feel sleep deprived. Ever try to shave while in a constant state of yawn? Not good, trust me. During one of my 14 naps I dreamt about the good old days, when I would work a twelve-hour day then stay up all night drinking beer and researching recipes.

In one of these sessions, I can remember having at least eight people sitting around a broken-down wooden table, in a third floor alcove. We had at least 10 cookbooks, and four cases of the best beer ever brewed (remember Hamm's, $6.99 a case) researching different ways to cook chicken.

...the steam from the chicken keeps the bag moist enough to steam the chicken done.

The recipes were flying, like the swallows returning to Capistrano. Then I heard the most bizarre thing, "cooking a whole chicken in a paper bag". "Pure bunk," I said and gingerly drank my last five beers then stumbled to bed. The better my hangover got the more I thought about the technology which was rather simple. Place the chicken in a paper bag, tie the bag closed, wet the outside of the bag, place it in a roasting pan and you are done. The wet bag will not burn until it is dried out, right? So... by the time it gets to that point, the steam from the chicken keeps the bag moist enough to steam the chicken done.

I decided to try it and I was totally amazed at the results. Try it, you'll be amazed too.

Chicken in a Bag

  • 1 3 to 4 pound chicken
  • 1 ordinary paper bag (non-wax coated)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic (crushed)
  • 1/2 rib of celery (rough-chopped)
  • 1/2 small carrot (rough-chopped)
  • 4 medium potates (quartered)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Rinse chicken under cool water, inside and out. Stuff the chicken with the thyme, rosemary, garlic, celery & carrot. Squeeze the lemon juice inside the bird and add the 1/2 lemon too.

Place the stuffed chicken inside the paper bag. Arrange the potatoes on the outside of the chicken inside the paper bag. Tie the bag closed with butcher's twine. Place in a roasting pan and wet the paper bag.

Place the pan in a 350° oven until the internal temperature of the bird is 160°.

NOTE: Once the chicken is done, it must be eaten within twenty minutes because it dries out very quickly.

You can serve the stuffing veggies with the potatoes as starch and vegetable.

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