Baking bags, more commonly known as oven bags, help your whole chicken cook more quickly and result in moist, tender meat with minimal mess. For a safe bet and quick, painless entree, seek FDA-approved oven bags made from heat-resistant nylon or polyester material. While you can rely on basic guidelines for general oven bag usage, always read and follow any instructions or warnings provided by the bag's manufacturer.
Set your oven to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit and allow it to preheat.
Scoop a spoonful of flour or cornstarch into the oven bag and shake it to coat the bag's interior. Rice flour and potato flour do the trick as well. This helps prevent the bag from bursting.
Place the whole chicken in the bag with its flatter side down, so that the bones of the drumsticks face the opening of the bag. Sprinkle on the seasonings of your choice -- basil, cilantro, garlic, onion, paprika, parsley, rosemary, tarragon and thyme all fit the bill here, as does a simple dash of salt and pepper. Gently toss the chicken in the bag to ensure an even coating of seasonings.
Tie the bag's open shut with the included tie. Don't use a regular twist tie, as it may melt or catch fire in the oven. If your bag doesn't include a tie, use kitchen scissors to cut of a 1/2-inch strip from the open end of the bag and use this strip as a tie.
Position the bagged chicken in the center of a baking pan. Use a baking pan with sides that are about 2 inches deep, as juices will collect in the bag and may spill over the sides of shallow pans. With a kitchen knife, poke a few holes in the top of the bag or make a single 1-inch slit to encourage proper ventilation.
Place the pan or dish on the lower oven rack and allow it to roast for about 90 to 115 minutes. When done, the chicken should have a golden brown, lightly crisped skin with tender, white -- not pink -- meat and clear juices.
Don your oven mitts, remove the baking dish and let the chicken stand for about 10 minutes. Cut the top of the bag open, carefully avoiding the hot steam and juices, and transfer the chicken to a serving dish. Before serving, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken -- its internal temperature should read at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
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