Roasted Whole Chicken with Vegetable Stuffing and Cranberry Sauce
Gluten-free, Lactose-free, FODMAP friendly
A chicken roasts quicker than a turkey, and it produces less debris—and if you’re cooking for a small group, there’ll be meat left over for a meal or two plus a batch of soup. This makes a whole chicken a good investment, especially if your market carries locally grown, humanely raised birds. If friends are coming, ask them to bring a side dish or dessert.
- 1 12-oz. package raw cranberries
- 1 cup sugar or sugar-dextrose blend
- 1 cup water
- optional: 1-2 tsp candied or grated raw ginger
- 1 whole chicken, about 5-7 pounds, preferably organic and free-range
- ½ tsp asafetida powder
- 2 Tbsp butter or olive oil
- 3 carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 heaping tsp dried sage leaves, sieved
- 1 scant tsp dried thyme leaves, rubbed
- ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
- optional: ½-1 cup cooked rice, or 2 slices dry gluten-free bread, cubed
- Early in the day or up to 48 hours before the feast: Wash and sort the cranberries. While they drain, bring the sugar and water to boil in a saucepan. Add cranberries.
- Bring the berries back to a gentle boil, add the ginger if you’re using it, and let them cook 5-10 minutes—until all the skins pop. Let cool slightly.
- If you like smooth cranberry sauce, or if you have trouble digesting skins and peels, run the cooked berries and juice through a food mill or sieve. This won’t get rid of all seeds, so if you need your sauce seedless, use cheesecloth and allow extra time.
- Refrigerate sauce in a glass jar or serving bowl.
Two to three hours ahead of the feast:
- Preheat oven to 350 F, and arrange the oven shelves so a whole chicken will fit without touching any of the shelves.
- Melt the butter or warm the olive oil in a large, microwave-safe bowl with a loose cover. Sprinkle in the asafetida powder and warm gently again. Let set for about a minute, uncovered, so the stinky disulfides can break down.
- While it sets, peel carrots and then chop carrots and celery as finely as you like. Add the herbs and chopped vegetables to the microwave-safe bowl, stir well, and microwave loosely covered for 2-3 minutes, until vegetables soften.
- Toss in the salt, pepper, and walnuts, and the bread cubes or rice if you’re using them. Cover tightly, and let it mellow while you prepare the chicken.
- Place a rack in your baking dish. Wipe the chicken with damp paper towels, inside and out (washing is no longer recommended, since bacteria can splash up to 3 feet from your sink). Place it in the baking dish breast-side and drumsticks up, with the wingtips tucked underneath. Rub the skin with olive oil.
- Gently push the stuffing, a handful or spoonful at a time, into the bird’s body cavity. Don’t pack too tightly. Anchor the drumsticks in front of the body cavity with a small skewer.
- Discard, cook, or wash in hot soapy water everything that has touched the raw chicken! Always assume that all chickens carry salmonella bacteria.
- Roast the chicken at 350 F for about 2 hours—but don’t judge its doneness by the clock. Use a meat thermometer, to make sure it will be fully cooked and SAFE, but still juicy. A meat thermometer inserted deep into the breast should register 185 F. After it finishes roasting, let it “set” at room temperature for 15 minutes, so the juices can cool enough to remain in the flesh instead of running out when you cut into the meat.
- Drain the pan juices into a separating pitcher; either prepare pan gravy or else refrigerate the juices for later soup-making, along with the bones and whatever meat scraps remain after the feast.
- Scoop the hot stuffing out into a serving bowl. Cut the chicken into serving pieces. Serve with the cranberry sauce.