Whole Chicken

If you have a whole chicken on your hands, you're probably going to roast it. Roast chicken is one of those classic Sunday dinners that gives you tons of leftovers to put in soups, salads and sandwiches over the following week. Food & Wine can elevate your roasting game by giving you new flavor ideas for traditional recipes. Or if you're someone who's tired of the same techniques, we have a few suggestions. Find out how to cook your chicken over a can of beer or try butterflying it—called spatchcocking—before cooking it on the grill. We have the old, the new and the completely unexpected.

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Chicken in a Pot with Lemon Orzo

This is not exactly the same as perhaps the most precious recipe in my repertoire, My Mother’s Praised Chicken, which found a home in my eighth book, Kitchen, but it owes a lot to it. A family favorite, it’s a simple one-pot dish which brings comfort and joy, and it is my pleasure to share that with you. It’s not in the spirit of things to be utterly specific with this kind of cooking: if you’re feeding small children, for example, you may not want to add the red pepper flakes. Similarly, you may want to use just one lemon, rather than the two I like. Your chicken may weigh more or less: the ones I get tend to be around 3½ pounds. And although I have specified the Dutch oven I always use, you obviously will use the one you have, which will make a difference to how quickly everything cooks, how much evaporation there will be, and so on. Don’t let these things trouble you unduly; this is a very forgiving dish. It doesn’t rely on precision timing: the chicken, leeks, and carrots are meant to be soft, and I even like it when the orzo is cooked far beyond the timing specified on the package. It’s also open to variation, owing to what’s in your kitchen. I could go on, but there is no need to add complications: this is a simple recipe that brings deep contentment.

Grill-Roasted Chicken with Crushed Fingerling Potatoes and Shallot Vinaigrette

Crushed juniper berries combine with garlic and herbs to perfume this smoky chicken that makes for a stunning centerpiece for a leisurely lunch with good company. For a shortcut, substitute quality rotisserie or smoked chickens; simply cover with foil and reheat in a 200°F oven before carving and serving. Either way, smothering the chicken and crushed potatoes with a classic shallot vinaigrette means every plate will be wiped clean.

Gaeng Rawaeng

At Nari in San Francisco, chef Pim Techamuanvivit's gaeng rawaeng, a whole Cornish game hen submerged in a deeply savory golden curry redolent with spices is served with impossibly flaky roti for sopping. In this recipe, a small chicken—standing in here for the Cornish game hen in the original dish—gently cooks in a velvety sauce of coconut milk spiced with chiles and galangal, a piney, citrus-flavored cousin of ginger. Don't shake the cans of coconut milk—the solidified cream and liquid are added separately. Refrigerate the cans for about 1 hour prior to cooking to encourage separation. Use a mix of green chile varieties to suit your preference for piquancy.

Roast Chicken with Chile-Basil Vinaigrette, Charred Broccoli, and Potatoes

Chef Hillary Sterling's epic chicken at Vic's in New York gets its juiciness and deep flavor from brining, air drying, and marinating. The process is simple but does require some planning­—start at least a day ahead. She serves the bird on a mix of charred broccoli, onions, and fingerling potatoes, fiery from the chiles and fresh from the basil, with a bright kick of red wine vinegar. Six heads of garlic mellow and sweeten after roasting, adding a caramelized flavor to the dressing and the marinade.

Zui Ji (Drunken Chicken)

This classic Shanghainese banquet dish is traditionally served at the new year to represent togetherness and rebirth. To “intoxicate” the chicken, it’s marinated in rice wine for up to 5 days, so this is a great dish to make ahead. The final flavor will be pungent and alcohol-forward, so choose a high-quality Shaoxing wine.

Nigerian Clay Pot Chicken

Everyone has a dish that they’ve eaten in a certain place and time, a dish that speaks to the emotions the memory invokes. This Clay Pot Chicken was Sunday dinner at our house in Ikeja, Nigeria—a roast chicken dish sourced from our backyard. My family raised chickens, catfish, large African snails, and the occasional pig in our yard. Our garden featured dozens of leafy greens, vegetables, and fruit trees. Although Ikeja is more suburban than the lively districts of Lagos most visitors may encounter, it is still very much a part of the metropolitan area. Lush ingredient gardens are not uncommon in the homes of Lagosians; “backyard-to-table” is traditional to the cuisine.According to my mother’s recipe, the live chicken is prepped that afternoon, the vegetables and herbs collected after the feathers were off the bird, and the clay pot soaked the night before. I had the tough job of picking out the herbs she wanted, a task I admit I didn't always enjoy. Her kitchen window opened up into the garden, and she would order me around for precisely what she was looking for. She ruled her kitchen with a silent finger pointing me this way and that.This recipe is an adaptation for my kitchen. A store-bought chicken is trussed, rubbed with an infused compound butter—Alligator Pepper and Makrut Lime Butter, in this case—then nestled on a layer of seasonal vegetables. Lemongrass, whole lime slices, and ginger add a punchy fragrance and a tangible sweetness to the pot. In the oven, the delicious herb-spiced chicken drippings coat the vegetables and citrus slices, which all gently caramelize as the chicken cooks.My recipe does omit the clay pot, and uses a Dutch oven instead, but if you have an earthenware pot handy, that will get you a little bit closer to the Sundays I remember back home. I don’t make this every Sunday like my mother did, but I can say I’ve eaten this dish more times in my life than any other meal.

More Whole Chicken

Grill-Roasted Chicken and Tomato–Red Chile Salsa

The more often I grill, the better I get at making the most of my fire. I mean, if you’re going to build a beautiful bed of glowing embers, why not lean into its delicious potential? Case in point: this trussed, golden chicken that crisps to juicy perfection just after you’ve prepped a charred tomato salsa that will be its perfect partner (and make your taco dreams come true). This time-efficient approach to grilling is a gratifying way of respecting the fire; it’s extremely satisfying to work your grill like a range and watch an entire meal come together on the grates.While the chicken roasts, you’ll have plenty of time to finish the salsa, and to prep anything else you want to serve. My PK Grill retains heat exceptionally well, so if I begin with one chimney of coals and a couple of chunks of wood (oak, pecan, or olive), I typically don’t need additional fuel to grill-roast a whole chicken. If the temperature does start to dip to 300°F, I simply add another wood chunk or two or a couple more chunks of lump charcoal or adjust the vents to kick up the fire with more oxygen.One wonderful thing about grill-roasting at a moderate temperature is that you can use your hands to help handle what you’re cooking, which is great when you want to rotate the chicken. If you get too caught up using just tools, you’re more likely to lose balance and pierce the meat or tear the skin. I like to slide a flat metal spatula under the chicken, then use my hands to carefully turn and rotate the bird; it just gives you a little more control, which I appreciate.After the chicken’s done and resting, don’t turn your back on the fire just yet. Char a stack of corn tortillas on the hot grates (conveniently seasoned with tasty rendered chicken fat). Chances are, you’ll have enough heat left to coal-roast eggplant or alliums, or even bake a skillet of brownies, but we’ll get to that later. For now, pass the limes—it’s time for tacos.

Roast Chicken with Cilantro-Mint Chutney

Step into any Indian restaurant and ask for a plate of samosas, and you’ll often find them served with a small bowl of bright green chutney that leaves a fiery tingle on the tip of your tongue. The construction of this alarmingly vivid chutney is quite simple: Fresh herbs, fresh chiles, and a few spices are ground together with a bit of lime juice and water. It’s much like a chimichurri, but with a more powerful punch.Green chutney is called that for a reason—it’s vividly, almost alarmingly verdant in color—but frankly, I think the name does the chutney a disservice. It strips away the nuance and richness from this alluring condiment, which can be made in a thousand different ways. Some versions might contain coconut, while others star herbs like mint or employ unique combinations of spices to add flavor.Those samosa sidekicks aside, green chutney can be much more than a condiment on the edge of a plate. It is bursting with flavor and can take on many roles: toss roasted vegetables in it, or fold it into a bowl of chilled yogurt to make an herby raita. I like to stray even further away from its typical applications and use it to marinate chicken.Roast chicken, whole or separated into pieces, benefits brilliantly from chutney-based marinades. You make the chutney and reserve half as your dipping sauce, while the other half gets folded into creamy, tangy yogurt to make a flavorful marinade for the chicken.Use a serrano or a Thai chile when you want a good dose of heat in the chutney; a jalapeño will work to give you a milder burn. You can lower the spiciness further by stripping away the seeds and the rib at the center. (Or make it as hot as you like, and keep a stash of creamy yogurt on hand—a dollop or two will be just enough of a fire extinguisher for any guests who can’t take the heat.)

Poblano Pimento Cheese–Roasted Chicken

Ashley Christensen, the chef at Poole’s in North Carolina, kicks up her pimento cheese with spicy poblanos and green hot sauce. In this brilliant riff, Justin Chapple spreads the creamy dip under the skin of a whole bird before it’s roasted to get both crispy skin and juicy meat. Slideshow: More Roast Chicken Recipes