Have you ever heard of a paper bag chicken? I hadn’t either until recently when I was browsing the Internet looking at recipes. I guess it’s not a new thing. It dates back to at least the 1950’s as sort of a precursor to plastic oven bags. The claim is that because the bag is paper and not plastic air can flow through it so it actually roasts. I was more than a little intrigued. Today is the day I’m testing the roasting in a paper bag theory. I read as long as you have the oven heat at a moderate temperature, lower than 451 degrees, the bag won’t burn. Ah, science in the kitchen! Now on to the experiment!
Into the oven. Let’s get this bird cooking!
Just pulled out of the oven. Time for the reveal.
This is what it looked like after ripping open the bag and pulling some of the lemon out of the cavity. It stuck a little bit to the paper bag, but not terribly.
Paper Bag Chicken
6 lb. whole chicken
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (one stick)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
salt and pepper
1 large, clean paper grocery bag
kitchen twine to tie bag
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the paper bag on a large baking sheet with sides.
Place butter in a small bowl. Zest all three lemons into the butter. Cut lemons in half. Squeeze about a teaspoon of juice from one half and add to the butter, but do not discard lemon. Stir in the thyme and garlic until well combined with the butter. Remove neck, liver and gizzards from inside the chicken. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Liberally salt and pepper inside and outside of bird. With your fingers between the skin and meat, carefully pull them apart being sure not to puncture or remove skin. Spread the butter mixture onto the skin, underneath the skin onto the meat and inside the cavity of the chicken. Place lemon halves inside the cavity. Insert bird into paper bag and tie the end securely with the kitchen twine. Place baking sheet with the bagged chicken into the oven. Bake for 3 hours at 350 degrees. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before untying and ripping open bag. Be careful. It’s very hot. Remove lemon halves with a fork. Place chicken on serving platter. Slice and enjoy with your favorite sides.
My verdict: I was thoroughly intrigued and had to try this. Although it made a moist and tasty chicken, it wasn’t very pretty nor very “roasted”. Give it a try so you can judge for yourself.
Wishing you love, laughter and cake,