Tutorial Tuesday! Crusty Chicken — Mmm Boy!

Now doesn’t that just sound incredibly appetizing? The word “crusty” really invokes a sense of concupiscence, doesn’t it? No? Well, I’m sure you’ll change your mind soon enough.

Happy Tuesday!

Normally I like to start these posts off with a little intro, some bantering about what’s culminated from my week thus far, yaddy-yaddy. But there will be none of that piffle today. Today I’m diving right into the Tutorial, because well . . .  this is just too good to put off for any length of time. Later this week I write a separate post about:

“How I lost my mind trying to write a synopsis” 

followed by:

“How I arrived at Sunnyside Institution” 

For now, let’s put all insanity aside, shall we? I’m confident I’ll find it right where I left it when I’m finished; which is, grinning at me from the inside of a sink drain.

Ahem, moving on . . .

You are in for a HUGE-MONGOUS treat today! Michael and I literally exhumed a chicken. Well, maybe not exhumed, exactly, but we certainly extricated one.

You’ll have to forgive me, but it’s been a week or so since we did this, so I can’t quite recall how we arrived at the decision to make this meal.

I believe it went something like this:

Cara: “What are we going to make for dinner this week?”

Michael: “Hm — I don’t know. Oh, wait . . . The other day I read about something cool.”

Cara: “Yeah? What was it?”

Michael: “This chef made this sort-of cast for a chicken.”

Cara: *gasps* “Why on Earth would such a reprehensible atrocity occur?”

Okay . . . I didn’t say that part. What I really said: “A cast? What kind of cast?”

Michael: “It was to keep the chicken moist while it cooked. It’s just dough that hardens over the chicken. Wanna try it?”


And there you have it; a look into the minds of two utter geniuses. 🙂

“Crusty Chicken”

Ingredients (for two whole chickens)

  • 2 whole young chickens
  • one large sweet onion
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • celery (with leaves)
  • crushed garlic
  • fresh rosemary
  • fresh thyme
  • Bay Leaves
  • 1 Orange
  • ground pepper
  • Grill Mates marinade seasoning packets (one for each bird)
  • olive oil
  • apple cider vinegar
  • coarse kosher salt (substitute with rock salt for less salty flavor)
  • flour
  • water

Step #1 Prepare the chicken stuffing

Chop the onion, bell peppers, celery (and the leaves), garlic  and put in a large bowl. Add about 1tbs olive oil and apple cider vinegar, and fresh ground pepper. Mix and set aside.

Step #2 Prepare the Chickens

Remove the innards, and rinse the birds well. Pat dry with a paper towel, removing any excess fluid. Place 1 orange quarter in each bird with a few sprigs of rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves. Fill the rest of the bird full of the veggie mix. Set aside.

Step #3 Prepare the dough

For each bird, mix a separate batch dough since it is a  large amount. Each batch consists of 8 cups of flour, 2.5 cups of salt, and 3.5 cups of water. Mix well. Put a layer of dough on bottom of pan that has been lined with foil (about a 1/2 inch thick. This should use about 3/4 of one of your dough batches.

Step #4 Dry Rub and Cover the birds

Use the seasoning packets to “dry rub” each bird. Make sure to rub the seasoning over each side. Place each bird in a roasting pan, or in separate pans, and cover completely with the rest of the dough, connecting with the dough on the bottom to seal it in. ***Note: the dough dries quickly, so use it right away to cover the birds. Make sure you put a “dough” divider between the birds so they are in their own “pocket.”

Step #5 Oven Roast

Cook the chickens at 400 degrees for approximately 1.5 to 2 hours. Since the chicken is trapped in the dough, it will stay moist even though the dough will start browning. Best to cook longer.

Step#6 The Reveal

Cut around the sides of the dough, creating a lid. Lift the lid slowly and check out your birds! Cut into the leg and thy area to see if the meat is fully cooked. If it’s still pink, no worries! Simply place the “lids” back on snugly and cook some more.

You can use the leftover vegetable mix to roast in the oven with some potatoes, freshly cut herbs, garlic, salt, pepper, orange juice and olive oil. When it’s all done, add the veggies from the bird for more flavor!

The chef samples his labor. 

This is what it should like when you remove from the oven. If, after removing the mold, you find the chicken a bit underdone, you can stick it back in the oven and back in increments of 15-20 minutes.

Now, if you remember, last Tuesday I told you that this week’s tutorial would feature my very first ancillary “vlog”. And so you shall have it! Below you will find the words “Opening of the Crusty Chicken” in red lettering. If you highlight the the whole thing, then right click, you will then be given the option to “Open in another tab”. Do that. This will indeed open another window where a YouTube video should pop up.

A few words . . . 

This was an exciting moment for us. We had no idea how it was going to turn out, because simply, we were not following any recipe. We had vague suggestions/instructions to guide us through part of the process, and the benefit of having my Mother-in-Law present, one of thee most amazing cooks I know, but really this was by all means “an experiment”. (Rich, I just thought of you when I used the word “an” LOL. Sorry, random.) Anyhow . . . in my excitement, I experienced a brain sparkle (My brain does not fart; that’s just gross.) and completely forgot that we had titled our recipe “Crusty Chicken”. In the video, I refer to it as either Crispy or Crunchy Chicken. Neither of these is correct, and I knew it, but there is no backspace button in live filming, so forgive me, please, for my error.

My voice: does it really sound like that? I swear I don’t know who that woman is speaking . . .  I sound approximately eleven years old. In my mind, I believe I sound like a cross between Angela Lansbury and Marilyn Monroe. It’s my dream; i’ll have it if I want it.

Don’t expect to see me. Earlier that afternoon I had given my face the full works: scrubbing, exfoliating, masking, peeling, moisturizing. While my skin could not have been more pleased, my complexion was that of a glistening butterball turkey. I was shiny. So, you will see a few members of my family, including the handsome semi-progenitor of this recipe.

Opening of the “Crusty Chicken”

After the reveal

Should everything go right, this is what your chickens should look like.

Sitting down to eat in bliss . . .

Until next time . . .

47 thoughts on “Tutorial Tuesday! Crusty Chicken — Mmm Boy!

  1. That’s so fun! I always overcook my chicken, so I’ll definitely be trying this. I bought a deep-covered baker from Pampered Chef guaranteed to keep chicken most in the oven our microwave, and it does really well. But those little dough pockets are so cute!

    • I can’t believe how well it turned out! It was THEE most delicious chicken I have ever had. And the process was super-cool 🙂

      Hope yours turns out equally as good!

    • LOL! Okay, no cannibalism over here, young lady! Maybe a half a sandwich while you wait 🙂

      Or better yet, yes, surprise your parents with it. Make sure to save the reveal for them, though!

    • No! No eating the cast! I probably should have specified that in the post . . . You definitely would not want to eat it. Well, I suppose you could, but forever after you would be forced to live on applesauce and slurpees. 🙂

      Thanks for the link!

      • It looked like it cooked all the way…does it really harbor that much bacteria if it’s been cooked and heated to such high temps? I am the only one that asked so apparently everyone else understood that you don’t eat it or maybe they just assume that you eat it? Ah…well. Looks yummy!

      • Yes, the chicken cooks all the way through. Depending on your oven, it might require a few extra minutes, but even in the event it’s still pink, it should be mostly cooked. Nothing to do with bacteria. The dough hardens to that of plaster — you would break your teeth if you tried to bite into it!

  2. I have been out of town for a few days and this was such a lovely recipe to come home to. I love it and have never seen anything like it before! I would love to make this for my family. I am a little imtimidated by it however. You guys did really, really good!!!!!

    • Oh, what a nice thing to say 🙂

      Don’t be intimidated — it was a lot of work, sure, but you are a baker; you know hard work and are prepared to put in the time necessary to see this project through. I hope you give it a try 🙂

  3. Cara, that looks beyond amazing! Pass me a piece please!

    I had chicken cooked as so once in a French restaurant and it was the most tender chicken that I have ever eaten.

    I have to try it out.

  4. I’ve seen a lot of chicken dishes but I’ve never seen one like this. You did a great job! I think I may have missed the video? I’ll look for it. I have one video and it was so horrifying I haven’t made another lol!

  5. Okay, first of all I had to google the word concupiscence, haha! What can I say, I’m a Texas redneck hippie. 🙂

    Let me tell ya, that is one tasty looking chicken. Great job on the recipe and video. Your hubby is a cutie and I adore your voice. It’s just as I imagined, bubbly and full of life! I hope you will continue to add videos, they are so much fun to see!

    Have a wonderful week dear friend!


    • LOL! “I’m a Texas redneck hippie.” You are hilarious, Lori!

      How fabulous that you actually took the time to look up the word. That one in particular is a favorite because it’s wonderfully easy to swap out in replacement of lackluster nouns and adjectives. How much better to use the luxurious “concupiscence” or “concupiscible” than the overly used, bland “desirable” ?! Okay, word-geek, I know . . .

      Thank you, my friend. So glad you enjoyed the video! I definitely plan on doing another and redeeming myself; I refuse to believe I actually sound like that. I was, um, sick. Yes, that’s it, I was very, terribly ill, and my vocal chords just were not themselves that day . . .

      You have a wonderful week, too!


  6. What a fun post to read. Cara, you definitely have a twinkle in your eye when you are writing your posts. I get a kick out of everything you say! This recipe looks so yummy and wholesome, but still very elegant. A promise to myself that I will follow the recipe and make a delicious dish like yours!


    • Oh, Elisa! You know how to tickle a writer’s ear! Let’s just hope that twinkle you speak of transfers over to my novel, or else I’m in some serious trouble 🙂

      Let me know how your dish turns out! I would love to see pictures — or a video!!

  7. This looks yummy!!! Aaron is so weird about onions and bell peppers in anything so i wonder if i could substitute it or just not add it in. Do you think that could work?? I would love to make it! By the way, loved all the pictures. You guys are such great chefs! love you both! 🙂

    • Oh, yes; you could absolutely substitute anything you didn’t like for other vegetables: zucchini, squash, eggplant, artichoke, asparagus — skies the limit! You would likely want at least one item with a bit of a kick/zest to it, just for flavor 🙂

      Thanks, love. It was a fun experiment.

  8. ACK! I’m late for dinner!

    LOVE, love, love this idea, Cara.

    The one thing that most resonated with me? Aside from the desire to pack a fork and visit. It was your comment about loving to mess with recipes. Make them your own.

    I embrace that concept. Never met a recipe I didn’t want to tweak. Never met a pot I couldn’t fill to the brim. The family gave up trying to buy one for me.

    You just *sparkle* in this post.

    • Oh, Gloria, you could never be late. I would LOVE to have you over for dinner. One day, my friend, we will have to meet up for girl-time.

      You are likely much better at tinkering with recipes than me . . . Truly, Michael is the gifted chef in our home. During the procession, I stood idly by snapping shots and adding sprinkles of things, passing knives, and throwing away empty grocery bags. LOL.

      You and your pots; I doubt there is any pot, pan, or person you couldn’t fill to the brim with your love and attention. You give, give, give and the result is: *Sparkling*


  9. This looks like total fun. I bet it was like play-dough! I also despise the term brain-fart! I have been watching so much downton abbey lately that I have become quite disenchanted with my own English usage much less standard American slang. I told Juliet that if I win the 500 million Powerball on Friday I am buying the Abbey and moving in to discover my roots of erudition

  10. Oh wow….seems I’m late for dinner as well! Any leftovers?! 🙂

    I’m not sure if anyone ‘likes’ the way their recorded voice sounds, with the possible exception of a few overly egotistical pop-stars, however….your writing ‘sounds’ wonderful. A pleasure to read…now, about that dinner….

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