Brown Paper Bag Chicken

Cook time 1 hours, 30 minutes
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Occasion Casual Party


  • 1 Chicken, 3-3.5 pounds
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Medium Onion, halved
  • 4 sprigs Rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon Hot Paprika


Step 1. Turn your oven to 400F.
Step 2. Rinse and dry your chicken, sprinkle with salt and pepper liberally, inside and out.
Step 3. Place the onion and rosemary inside, sprinkle the paprika on the skin.
Step 4. Now, the fun part. Take a big, brown paper grocery bag and put the chicken in it. Tie the bag shut with kitchen string (I have fancy oven-safe rubber bands, but I'm a bit crazy). Staples aren't great here, let's not pierce the bag.
Step 5. Roast the bird for 90 minutes, open bag to release steam, check for doneness.

Wait, we start with a recipe? I tend to do a lot of things backwards, just what I do. But the above, that’s not my recipe. It’s a mind-bendingly simple and delicious recipe from Sara Foster. She runs a grocery in NC, and I can only imagine that it’s a magical, beautiful place. I’ve destroyed three different cookbooks, and there’s never been one bad thing that I’ve brought out of that book. If you never learn anything else from me, cook this chicken constantly. It’s amazing, juicy; it’s the ideal non-fried chicken in the history of the world.

Now, here’s the thing. This is a lot of chicken for a person or two, and this is why people don’t just throw down a roaster, which is a shame. I’m here to stimulate your ingenuity. You’ve got your roasted chicken and some veg one night, but what to do with the rest? This is where it’s time to get nerdier.

What do you like? Just do it. I cooked this chicken last week, and here’s what I did:

chicken risotto with mushrooms

chicken chili

chicken tacos

That’s nothing, but it’s enough to end a chicken. Shrimp & grits with chicken, brunswick stew, pot pie, chicken & dumplings. I’m not going to go all Forrest Gump here, but the point is that you can. So why is this a tool in the nerd kitchen? All the things that people like, it all builds from something simple. Star Wars is a western. Adult Swim shows are graffiti, satire, morality plays, things going back to ancient Greece and Rome. Don’t get me wrong, this recipe is exquisite, but you can make it better. Make it yours. Make it nerdy.

Oh, but for Chthulu’s sake, don’t eat those onions.