Rotisserie chicken adds slow-cooked flavor to quick dishes

April 1, 2022

There is something wonderful about walking into a grocery store to encounter the enticing aroma of rotisserie chicken. Just follow your nose to the aisle where they’re waiting for you, wrapped and ready for the drive home. We’ve tried a few different varieties, but our favorite is the WondeRoast chicken at Lloyd’s Market in Lewes. No searching is required here, as the warming box filled with fragrant chicken is just inside the front door.

The term “rotisserie” can refer either to the rotating spits on which the meat is cooked or to a shop that sells food cooked in this fashion. Rotisserie cooking has been around as long as man has cooked over an open fire. The pieces of meat (or the entire animal) are threaded onto a spit which is is slowly turned in front of the flame. The slow process results in tender, juicy chicken with crisp, browned skin.

Originally, the only ways we had to cook were over an open fire or in the still-hot embers. In wealthy households, a young boy was typically responsible for sitting by the hearth and turning the meat on the spit over the well-tended fire. As kitchen technology evolved, providing easier and tidier ways to cook inside our homes, rotisserie cooking was relegated to camping trips or backyard barbecues.

In the United States, the idea of selling rotisserie chicken as a convenience food to replace scratch-made meals started with a Massachusetts shop originally called Boston Chicken. Known today as Boston Market, the product was clearly a popular one, as the company has grown into a multinational franchise offering rotisserie chicken and all the sides for a complete meal. Chain supermarkets soon followed suit.

There are a number of bloggers and food critics who have written about rotisserie chicken, from the nutritional aspects to which big-box store offers the tastiest version. One potential item of concern with rotisserie chicken is the spice rub, which can be very high in sodium, and the specific ingredients are not always listed on the package.

Based on the deep brown color the skin develops while the chicken cooks, one likely ingredient is paprika. Checking the commercial spice mixtures from companies such as McCormick and Lawry’s, the mixtures include paprika, salt, pepper, sugar, garlic and onion powders, as well as anti-caking agents and other “natural” seasonings.

If you’re looking for a good rotisserie chicken, you might want to read the online “best” lists for guidance. Or, you can pay attention to the cost of the various vendors’ offerings, as the cheapest chicken is not necessarily the best deal from a quality standpoint. Of course, you can also run your own taste test to identify your personal favorite.

Once you’ve found a rotisserie chicken that suits your criteria, keep in mind you can’t leave it on the counter until dinner time. You’ll need to eat it as soon as you get it home or wrap it tightly in foil and place it in a slow oven for up to a few hours. Any longer than that, move it into the refrigerator. You can reheat rotisserie chicken in the microwave, stovetop, oven, air fryer or Instant Pot.

Rotisserie chicken is a versatile ingredient that can be served sliced with sides like roasted potatoes and carrots, as in the photo. Remove any leftover meat from the bones and use it for casseroles, salads or soups. Boil the carcass for a rich, flavorful chicken stock that can be the backbone of a hearty chicken soup, like the one below made with toasted orzo.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

1 rotisserie chicken

1/4 C soy sauce

3 T peanut butter

2 T honey

2 T rice wine vinegar

2 T olive oil

1 t sriracha sauce

1 garlic clove

4 green onions

10-12 lettuce leaves

1/2 C minced red bell pepper

1/2 C peanuts

Strip the meat from the bones of the chicken and shred into bite-size pieces. Place the meat in a bowl; set aside. In a serving bowl, whisk together soy sauce, peanut butter, honey, vinegar, olive oil and sriracha. Grate the garlic clove into the mixture. Thinly slice the green onions and stir into the mixture. Add the shredded chicken and stir to combine. To serve, spoon chicken mixture into a lettuce leaf; sprinkle with red bell pepper and peanuts.

Chicken Soup

1 rotisserie chicken

2 T butter

1 chopped onion

3 sliced carrots

2 sliced celery stalks

2 minced garlic cloves

1/4 C chopped parsley

1/2 t oregano

1/2 t salt

1/2 t white pepper

1 C orzo pasta

6 C chicken stock

1 T fresh lemon juice

dill sprigs

Strip meat from the chicken and place in a bowl; set aside. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium low. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add carrots and celery and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for a minute. Add seasonings and the orzo to the pot; cook, stirring until pasta turns slightly golden. Pour in stock and add chicken. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Simmer until orzo is cooked, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and adjust seasonings. Ladle soup into bowls; garnish with dill sprigs.

Chicken Curry

1 C Basmati rice

1 T olive oil

1 sliced onion

2 sliced garlic cloves

1 C sliced mushrooms

2 t yellow curry powder

1/2 C Greek yogurt

3/4 C heavy cream

1/2 C frozen peas

1/2 t salt

1/4 t pepper

2 C shredded chicken

1/4 C chopped cilantro leaves

Cook rice according to the package directions. While rice cooks, heat oil in a skillet over medium. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms to skillet; cook another 5 minutes. Stir in curry powder and cook for a minute. Stir in yogurt, cream, peas, salt, pepper and chicken. Simmer until bubbly, about 5 minutes. To serve, divide warm rice among bowls, top with spoonfuls of curry and sprinkle with cilantro.



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