This recipe comes from The Country Gourmet Cookbook, by Sherrill and Gil Roth. Comfort food at its finest, serve it with your favorite green vegetable, some crusty bread and a nice Savignon Blanc. Takes little time to prepare with simple ingredients and is a nice meal when you are too busy to do much in the kitchen.This recipe is one reason to grow your own rosemary in a pot-fresh is the best! Serves 4.
3 lb. chicken, butterflied
1 qt sauerkraut in a bag
1/2 tsp dried hot pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary (my preference), or 3/4 tsp crumbled dried rosemary
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper, black is fine if you do not have white
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
With a pair of kitchen shears, remove the backbone of the chicken. Flatten the chicken by spreading it open, skin side up, and pressing on the backbone until it cracks and the chicken remains flat. Rinse the chicken under cold water and remove excess fat. Wipe it dry with paper towels. Tuck the tips of the wings under the body and arrange the legs so they point out horizontally from the body. Season with salt and pepper.
Place the sauerkraut in a colander and rinse it well with cold water to remove the salt. It will lose its strong scent and flavor-now to season. Drain, squeeze dry with your hands and squeeze dry again in paper towels. Place the sauerkraut in a shallow baking dish that has been brushed with 1 tsp olive oil to coat. The dish should be just large enough to hold the chicken-I use a 9 X 13 Pyrex rectangle and it works fine. Toss the sauerkraut with the red pepper and rosemary.
Arrange the flattened chicken, skin side up, on top of the sauerkraut, tucking all the sauerkraut in under the body of the chicken. Rub half of the lemon juice into and over the surface of the chicken-it will dribble all over the sauerkraut below. Brush the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hr 20 min to 1 1/2 hrs until the chicken is well browned but still moist. During the first half hour, it may appear dry but will begin to exude juices and brown during the latter half of roasting. After 30 min, remove the chicken from the oven and rub the rest of the lemon juice over the surface. If the sauerkraut appears to be browning too quickly, mix it slightly and rearrange under the chicken. If it appears dry, add a splash of water or wine to the bottom of the baking dish. As soon as the juices begin to flow from the chicken, the sauerkraut will have sufficient moisture. Let it rest for five minutes before serving with its wonderful juices. The sauerkraut does not taste liked the packaged product you are familiar with at all and is wonderful!