Naples, Florida – a beautiful city! My Uncle Victor and Aunt Alice moved to Naples in the late 1960’s and their condo was on the Gulf Coast and I would visit them often. Always, for the first night of the visit, Aunt Alice would serve her famous roasted chicken. She really did not like to cook, but this was easy and she had perfected it and it was her standard company dinner. I don’t think there is any stronger memory than that of food and I can still remember that wonderful dinner.
Her trick was using a vertical roaster. In the picture, you can see the three parts. You place an entire chicken over the tall vertical piece and the legs will dangle down towards your pan. You place the top piece into the neck cavity to use the optional strainer and you can put butter in it and it will drip over the chicken as it bakes.
I have never done this since it turns out so good without it. The roaster will sear the chicken on the inside and the heat transfers up and helps cook it from the inside out. The model shown is the original one made by Spanek®, but there are plenty of versions available.
The cooking process involves a tiny bit of water in the bottom of the pan and this helps keep the chicken very moist. You can coat the outside of the chicken with any spices by just rubbing them into the skin. I like to serve a gravy or sauce to enhance the chicken. Carving this is a simple chore and the meat is so tender, you can almost just pull off the legs and wings.
My dear Aunt Alice died in January at the age of 98. I will be going back to Virginia this June where the family will gather to celebrate her life. If they serve chicken at the party, it will remind me of Aunt Alice, but I am sure it will not taste the same.
Vertical Roasted Chicken
One whole chicken
Spices or rub if desired
Water or any type of liquid
Rinse and pat dry the entire chicken. Pre heat the oven to 450. Spray the vertical roaster with non stick spray. Place the chicken over the vertical roaster so that it sticks out of the top of the chicken and add the top piece and strainer if desired.
Place this in a baking dish so that there is about 2 inches all the way around the chicken. A nine inch round baking pan works nicely. Put ¼ inch of liquid in the bottom of the pan. Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce heat to 350 for the remainder of the cooking time.
Keep an eye on the liquid in the bottom of the pan and refill if necessary. 20 minutes per pound is a good estimate and be sure to include the first 15 minutes of searing time in your estimate. Check with a meat thermometer to make sure it is cooked through.
You can hook a large cooking fork under the top edge of the roaster and place it on a platter or cutting board for carving. Carve the chicken while it is still in the roaster.
Susan Lang makes greeting cards which are for sale at Stephen's Hair & Boutique located at 312 W. Mesquite Blvd. #12 in the Bull Dog Shopping Center. Each card is different and has a message sure to make you laugh and some also come with recipe cards. While you are there, grab a new outfit for dinner!