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Cook Talk

cooking 17 3 lb chickens in 2 roaster ovens
marilouyost
09/28/12
I am cooking for a crowd of 30 and need to cook 17 3 lb chickens in 2 large roaster ovens.
I can leave them whole or cut up. Can you recommend a good way to do this?
ellen
09/28/12
You can only do about 20 pounds meat per roaster, you need at least one more. And you know they blow circuits when two or three are on the same circuit.
marilouyost
09/28/12
Thank you., I didn't know that. How long should they cook and can they be slow cooked at a low temp or what do you recommend? I could cut them up.
ellen
09/28/12
At 300 degrees, which is the lowest you should use, you use a crock pot recipe for the roasters.

This is too much chicken for 30 people. Why so much?

marilouyost
09/29/12
I feed about 30 homeless plus additional people as they show up and the people serving. I would rather have too much so there is some to take with them rather than not have enough. I will have to leave after starting the baking this time and the people who will be there don't cook. That is why I had so many questions. If I could stay I would alter temps as needed.
ellen
09/29/12
OK.

1/4 chicken per person is a generous serving. So, my suggesting is to cook 10-12 and save the rest for a whole nother casserole entree- it would be plenty for another meal. I included a chicken and rice recipe at the end.

A roaster oven can be used in many different ways, from roasting (the obvious one!), to slow-cooking, to steaming, and poaching. The key is to not overcook the meat or allow it to fry in its own fat.

So how about doing pieces:

cooking by temperature rather than time is essential

Remove the cooking well. Preheat the covered roaster for 20 minutes to 425-450 degrees F.

Rinse the birds or pieces under a running tap of cool water.

Place chicken, olive oil, and any seasoning in Ziploc bag and seal. Shake to coat chicken with ingredients. Per whole chicken or 4 quarters, a nice spicy amount is:
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 large onion -- quartered

Lightly spray inside of the cooking well with cooking spray. Remove chicken pieces from Ziploc bags and arrange them in the cooking well of the preheated roaster. Stuff the onions in the chickens or scatter the quartered onions among the pieces, especially if you plan to do soup from the bones.

Place the cooking well in the preheated roaster. Reduce temperature to 375 degrees F. Roast 25 to 45 minutes, approximately 20 minutes per pound, this works for the weight of pieces or the weight of whole chickens. When the cooking time is up, check to see that the bird is done by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the meatiest part of the thigh. The internal temperature should be 165 degrees F. If its not done, bake it for an additional 20 minutes.

The carcasses can make a rich broth.
Put the carcass right back into the cookwell, without washing it first (lets those tasty brown bits get into the soup.) Add the roasted onions, any bones, skins, bits. For each whole chicken carcass or 4 quarters, a tablespoon or or two of cider vinegar, a few stalks of celery,a clove or two of garlic, a teaspoon of dried ginger, and enough water to cover by about 3 inches. Let it slow slow cook overnight at 250. Let the broth cool, remove the solids and strain and chill.
The fat rises to the top and can be removed.

Creamy Chicken 'n Rice
Serves 70 people
Fills one electric roaster.
9 cups uncooked rice
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoon salt
4 1/2 quarts water
17 cups chopped cooked turkey or chicken (that is 15-17 pounds whole chicken)
3 cups chicken broth
2 batches Creamy Gravy (recipe follows)
To cook rice, bring water to boil in the roaster at 450. Stir the butter and salt, then the rice. Turn to 325.
Boil 15 to 20 minutes covered, stirring occasionally.
At this point you can chill everything.
Combine rice and gravy in electric roaster.
(If preparing the day ahead, this mixture may be partly cooled before adding meat.)
Stir in chopped meat and add broth as needed.
Heat slowly, stir away from sides.
Add broth if mixture becomes too thick.
Season generously with poultry seasoning..
TIP: cook, chop and freeze fowl ahead of time.
Use the broth later in the casserole and gravy.
Creamy Chicken Gravy
Make 2 batches for the casserole.
3/4 c. butter
3/4 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. celery salt
4 c. chicken broth
2 c. milk
1/8 tsp. pepper
Make a basic white sauce, using part chicken broth.
Cook over low heat.

marilou
10/04/12
Thank you so very much. I will be back again and I am looking forward to going through your whole blog to learn more.
Maureen Beck
11/11/12
cooking 4 chickens together cut up into pieces
I would like to know if it is possible to cook 4 chickens (cut up)
in the same roasting pan. Can be spread out. I have a
Smeg 700 oven. If so how long would it take to cook them.
Would like to add herbs to the pan.
Thank you in anticipation.
ellen
11/11/12
4 chickens
Yes, I have done up to 6. Put the herbs on the chicken. Slice onions or lemon under the layer of chicken. 375 for about 35 minutes in a regular oven.
DEBORAH Kramer
07/31/14
I'm cooking 40pds of skinless boneless chicken breast and thighs for making cream chicken over biscuits for Veterans Day. What the easiest way to cook chicken so I can chop it up for the gravey. I do have 3 to 4 roasters at club I can cok in I have RA and can't stand for long periods. We serve 80 to 120 servicepersons and thier family free. I also would like to make real red mash potatoes instead of instant . Can you dothem Iin a roaster too?
ellen
07/31/14
I suggest you do this ahead. You can do the meat in two regular giant roasting pans in the home oven, and shred or chop and refrigerate. Do this on a day when you are feeling well. Put a quart of chicken broth in the bottom of each. Layer in the meat with any herbs or seasoning you want to use. Cover very tightly and basically bake at about 300 for at least an hour. Temp in the middle should be 160 on a quick read thermometer to finish.

I put the roaster pan right on the rack, fill it in the oven, cover tightly. When done, instead of lifting the hot heavy pan, slide the rack part way out and use tongs to transfer meat to your cutting board.

Day of, make your sauce in 3 roasters, put 1/3 the meat in each one, heat it up in the hot sauce.

I don't usually make mashed potatoes with reds, I like the texture of Burbanks/russets better. But you can use the freezable, holdable mashed potato recipe on this site to make these ahead, also.

ellen
07/31/14
By the way, you will have some wonderful rich chicken broth to help your sauce be delicious.
Gordon
05/27/16
Leg quarters in the roaster pan
I want to brown 10 lbs of leg quarters in a skillet, then finish and hold them in the roaster oven. How long will they stay?
ellen
05/27/16
??? In a preheated 200 degree roaster, they will hold several hours, but quality will drop after the first hour.
Anna
06/03/16
Please help,
I'm cooking 200lbs of chicken leg quarters for tomorrow. My plan is to cook the fat off the chicken on the stovetop for 25 - 30 min in 10 lb batches. Drain the fat, then cover them in bbq sauce and put in a 350' oven until done. Once cooled, I'll store the chicken overnight in gallon sized zip top bags. The next morning, I'll put the chicken in the roasters to keep warm.
Is this going to work? Do you have any advice?
ellen
06/03/16
Food safety disaster waiting to happen.

Anna, you can't chill this chicken fast enough to keep safe once cooked unless you have a freezer or two, or 4-5 empty refrigerators.

You need to cool fast in ice baths 30 minutes or less to in shallow baggies or pans, then transfer no more than about 30 pounds to any refrigerator, in 8-10 pound max amounts. Poultry products, including ground poultry, should always be cooked to at least 165 F internal temperature as measured with a food thermometer; storage temp refrigerated 40 degrees within two hours after cooking.

DO NOT stack the baggies, or they won't stay cold enough, must be 40 or bacteria can grow.

If you are planning to keep cold in ice chests, layer single layers of bagged chicken with equally thick layers of bagged ice. and replenish the ice if/as it melts.

Reheat thoroughly and quickly, to at least 75C/165F. You have only 2 hours from removing from chill through to 160 degrees/ serving. Once reheated it cannot safely be frozen and reheated again.

Insulate when traveling. If youre taking a dish to a party or to work, be sure to keep it hot (over 160) or cold (under 40) until the moment you leave and then ensure that it stays that way by carrying it in an insulated carrier.

Wish you had written sooner!

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