Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Original Diva's Slow-Baked Chicken (featuring Bright Farm's Free Range Chicken)

Growing up, we all have childhood memories of our favorite dishes, lovingly procured and prepared by our mothers. I have many such memories and am blessed that my mother, The Original Diva, is such a fabulous cook. One of my favorite family recipes is her Slow Baked Chicken - it's so moist and tender that the meat literally falls off the bones. I've been meaning to write it up for the blog, and while in Floyd, the perfect opportunity arose.

I happened to be in town for the pick up day for chickens from Bright Farm, a local family operation where they raise free range beef, poultry and chicken. My mother had ordered upwards of 12 chickens and of course had forgotten to pick them up. So we were late, careening over country roads, all in pursuit of poultry.

Bright Farm's Pastures in Floyd

"Twelve chickens? Isn't that a lot?" I asked her skeptically.

"But they're so good!" she replied excitedly. "And I can freeze them!"

"We're going to be eating a lot of chicken."

When we arrived, Debbie Bright was kind enough to relinquish our chickens to us despite our tardy arrival. They were beautifully cleaned and arranged and looked superbly fresh. We also loaded up on some free range ground pork before we headed home with the sound of hound dogs baying in the distance.

Chicken Pick Up at Bright Farm

For dinner, the Original Diva suggested we make her classic Slow Baked chicken and I happily agreed. There's nothing like the joy of cooking family recipes with your mother. When the chicken had finished its slow bake, it came out a beautiful golden brown color, the supple meat literally falling off the bones. Now I understand why she needed twelve chickens - when it tastes this good, you'd want more, too!

Original Diva's Slow Baked Chicken (featuring Bright Farm's Free Range Chicken)

1 whole free range chicken, innards removed
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp garlic powder or garlic salt
1 tsp paprika
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup filtered water
3 tbsp tarragon
salt & pepper

optional: 1/2 cup shitake mushrooms, seared in butter


Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Wash the free range chicken, pat dry, and place in a roasting pan on the bed of chopped onions.

Brush the chicken with olive oil and put pats of butter all over it. Dust with garlic salt or powder, paprika, more salt and pepper.

Place the chicken in the hot oven and sear it at 500 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until it browns and juices are flowing. Pour in 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup of dry white wine and 2 tbsp of tarragon.

Turn the oven down to 300 degrees and cover the chicken for a slow bake. Cook for 2-3 hours, occasionally basting the chicken. Remove the chicken from the oven once it's done cooking. It should be tender with the meat falling off the bones.

Optional: an hour before the chicken is done, chopped red potatoes and carrots can be added around the chicken for a complete meal.


Strain chicken liquid and remove fat. Return to the pan and add 1/2 cup white wine and 1 tbsp tarragon. Bring to a simmer and reduce in half. Optional: add the shitake mushrooms that have been seared in butter.


Businesses Mentioned in this Post:

Bright Farm
794 Spangler Mill Rd.
Floyd, VA 24091

Local raisers of free range beef, poultry & pork, their products can be found at local businesses like Harvest Moon and being served in local restaurants.


  1. sounds like a nice twist on my standby roasted chicken. too muggy for it in TO right now but maybe this fall!

  2. OMG, this recipe is so delicious! But maybe you should stick to the Gazpacho. Is it that hot in Toronto? xoxo