Roast Chicken for Shabbat

Succulent whole roast chicken with rich stock for gravy or soup.

Ours is an interfaith marriage. Will is Jewish, I’m Christian. But we celebrate every Sabbath and I always cook a festive meal. Normally we also entertain on Shabbat, an activity which has been put on hold during the Covid19 pandemic. But even, or perhaps because it is just the two of us, I bake Challah and make a fancy meal, often chicken. Lately, it’s been challenging to find poultry, so I take whatever the local grocer has and will deliver. For the past couple of weeks, that has been a whole chicken, weighing in at over five pounds. It feeds us through the entire weekend.

This is my go-to method for preparing a whole chicken for Shabbat, and includes a wonderful method for making truly delicious stock. It smells heavenly, and has on at least two occasions, elicited facetious proposals of marriage from guys who were in the house on the day I was cooking. The only challenging part of the recipe is spatchcocking (removing the backbone and flattening the chicken) and a pair of poultry or sturdy kitchen shears makes that very manageable.   

This is easily done in one day, but I try to work ahead, so I kosher, spatchcock and start the dry brine on the chicken on Thursday morning while I make the stock. Then on Friday, I know that the chicken in well under way while I bake Challah and prepare the rest of the meal.

The calorie counts are a bit wonky because they combine the roast chicken, the chicken thighs, and the chicken stock. But if you care about limiting carbs, this is a great option with only 6 grams per serving.

5 pounds Chicken — whole, spatchcocked
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 pound chicken thighs
2 quarts water
1 medium onion — unpeeled, quartered
1 large carrot — unpeeled, cut into three inch pieces
5 stalks celery — with leaves, if present
1 large clove garlic — unpeeled, cut in half
6 whole cloves
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Rinse drain the whole chicken. Place in a large bowl and generously salt. Add cold water to cover and refrigerate for one hour. Drain.

To spatchcock the chicken. Using a sharp knife of kitchen shears, cut along both sides of the backbone and remove. Spread the chicken open and flatten, using the heel of your hand to break the breastbone.

Hint: If you are making stock, just toss the backbone into the pot with the rest of the ingredients.

Line a roasting pan or deep cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Generously season the underside of the spatchcocked chicken with salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and crushed rosemary.

Place the spatchcocked chicken, skin side up, on the baking sheet. Season very generously with additional salt, poultry seasoning and rosemary. Refrigerate, UNCOVERED, for at least 8 hours or up to two days.

For instructions on how to dry brine, see:

When ready to cook, drain off any accumulated liquid. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices from the thigh run clear.

Garnish as desired and serve.


In a stock pot or dutch oven, place the chicken thighs, any giblets that may have been with the chicken and the remaining ingredients. (onion, carrot, celery, garlic, cloves, bouillon and seasonings).

Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer.

Cook for one hour, and if desired, remove any giblets and the chicken thighs to be used for another purpose.

Continue to simmer the vegetables and herbs for up to four hours.

Drain, discarding the solids. Taste and adjust seasoning. Use at once or refrigerate or freeze.

Start to Finish Time: 30 minutes prep. At least two hours to “kosher” and let rest in refrigerator. 1:30 to roast.

Ratings : moderately difficult 5
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Nutrition Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 761 Calories; 53g Fat (63.3% calories from fat); 63g Protein; 6g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 268mg Cholesterol; 1331mg Sodium; 2g Total Sugars; 1mcg Vitamin D; 89mg Calcium; 3mg Iron; 884mg Potassium; 532mg Phosphorus. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch).

Suggested Wine: pinot noir, shiraz, or cabernet sauvignon

Serving Ideas : Use the stock to make a rich and flavorful gravy. Simply thicken with cornstarch and cold water, or a butter and flour roux. Will especially loves it served with stove top dressing.

“Glyn Ruppe Melnyk, All Good Gifts 2020”

This entry was posted by Glyn Ruppe-Melnyk.

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