Brown-Bag Barcelona Chicken

17 Aug

Amaze your family and friends with this succulent, moist chicken and tender vegetables baked in a brown paper bag! This bag-o-chicken recipe, inspired by author and columnist Jeanne Jones, bakes chicken, carrots, and potatoes to perfection, seasoned with the sunny flavors of Spain—tomatoes, olives, dry sherry, marjoram, almonds, and red bell pepper. Allow 1-1/4 hours of unattended cooking time and just 25 minutes to actually prepare the bird. The effort is minimal and the result divine.
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour, 15 minutes; plus 10 minutes standing time
Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

1 frying chicken (about 4 pounds)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon salt
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 red or yellow onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 carrot, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 russet potatoes (about 1 pound),
   cut into 1-inch chunks (leave skin on)
1 cup pitted green salad olives with pimiento
1/4 cup blanched whole almonds
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes,
   chopped, drained, and oil reserved

Place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Be sure to allow plenty of space so that that the brown bag doesn’t come in contact with the sides, top, or bottom of the oven.
Heat oven to 450 degrees F.
Fold the wing tips back and under the bird. Place the chicken in a 13x9x2-inch baking dish.
In a large bowl, mix the garlic, sherry, paprika, marjoram, and salt together to create a spice mixture. Rub the spice mixture all over the chicken and in the chicken cavity, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the bowl.
Toss the red bell pepper, onion, carrot, and potatoes in the bowl with the remaining spice mixture. Add the olives, almonds, and sun-dried tomatoes with a spoonful of the oil from the tomatoes, and mix all to coat thoroughly.
Lift the chicken and spoon the vegetables around and under the bird.
Carefully slide the pan into a clean, brown paper grocery bag. Today’s markets are using shorter bags. If the bag isn’t long enough to fold over the end, carefully turn the pan around 90 degrees in the bag and then fold and staple the end shut.
Place the bag in the oven (make sure the bag doesn’t rest against the top or sides of the oven.) Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Carefully remove the bag from oven. Cut open the bag. Let the chicken stand for 10 minutes before serving. Spoon the vegetables on a platter and top with pieces or slices of the chicken.

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