You don’t have to make turkey for Thanksgiving. You could make a smoked pork loin roast or short ribs — whatever you love to eat that feeds a crowd. Or, serve a whole chicken.
Everyone loves chicken.
Chicken is clearly the perfect option if your Thanksgiving involves a small crew. Let’s say you’re only cooking for your immediate family. Hello, whole chicken. Just two of you? Chicken, again. Grab a whole chicken and cook it however you want to. If you’re in need of inspiration, here are a few blog posts we’ve written about how we prefer to prep and cook whole chicken.
REMARKABLE ROAST WHOLE CHICKEN
Read on for tips and recipes for the kind of roast chicken you’ll want to make over and over again—and to serve guests. If you’d like to cut up a chicken into parts, the instructions are here. For rubbing before roasting, here’s our favorite sage-filled dry rub recipe. We also have a sage-filled dry rub recipe that’s delicious.
WHOLE CHICKEN ON THE GRILL
A whole chicken on the grill is a beautiful thing. Pick from your choice of recipes: try beer can chicken or smoke one whole–no smoker needed. We’re also big fans of spatchcocking chicken—that’s just a fancy word for taking the backbone out so a bird can lay flat when cooking. Which brings us to…
HOW TO SPATCHCOCK FOR THANKSGIVING
These are our instructions for butterflying a chicken, though spatchcocking is a far better word. Just remove the spine and splay the bird—chicken or even turkey, if you insist—open like a book. Then cook. A brick chicken is always a good idea.
Once you have your chicken recipe set, you’re going to want some Thanksgiving sides. Here’s where you can choose to be more traditional. We reached out to our Hudson neighbors Talbott & Arding to find out what sides they’re selling this year. They do a large Thanksgiving business. And if you don’t want to cook at all, they offer complete dinners, including brined and roasted Northwind Farms turkey breast with all the sides and pies. Or you can make their stuffing, because they shared their recipe with us, to go with your chicken.
“Thanksgiving is nostalgic and a meal we look forward to all year, no fancy reinventions, just super flavorful and traditional,” says Mona Talbott. “At Talbott & Arding we like an herbaceous stuffing cooked inside the bird.” If you prefer your stuffing/dressing cooked outside the bird, they sell it as well. Even if you make your own chicken and stuffing, there’s no reason not to supplement. You can still pick up their potato and celery root puree and their pumpkin, apple, or pecan pies. That’s pretty much Thanksgiving perfection.
Talbott & Arding Thanksgiving Stuffing
Makes approximately 2 lbs.—enough stuffing for a large 4 to 5 lb. chicken or a small turkey.
10 oz. cubed stale baguette (6 cups), lightly toasted
10 oz. cubed stale focaccia (6 cups), lightly toasted
12 tbsp. (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
2 medium onions, ¼ inch dice
2 small leeks, ½ inch dice
3 stalks celery, ½ inch dice
3 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
3 tablespoons, fresh thyme, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tablespoons, fresh savory, chopped
1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
2 cups homemade chicken stock
Place toasted baguettes and focaccia in a large mixing bowl.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions, leeks, and celery, season with salt and pepper and cook until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped herbs and chicken stock. Simmer robustly for 5 minutes.
Transfer the buttery onion herb mixture to the toasted bread. Mix well to combine. Taste for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper if necessary.
Cool the stuffing completely, then stuff it into the cavities of the chicken before roasting.