Brown-Bag Barcelona Chicken

A Cooking with Kids Original Recipe

Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes; plus 10 minutes resting time
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Brown-Bag Barcelona Chicken  

Amaze your family and friends with this succulent, moist chicken and tender vegetables—baked in a brown paper bag! This bag-o-chicken recipe, inspired by author and columnist Jeanne Jones, bakes chicken, carrots and potatoes to perfection, seasoned with the sunny flavors of Spain: tomatoes, olives, dry sherry, marjoram, almonds and red bell pepper. Allow 1-1/4 hours of unattended cooking time and just 25 minutes to actually prepare the bird. The effort is minimal and the result divine.


Kid Tip
In this recipe, younger kids can help measure and mix the seasonings, and rub the bird with the mixture. They can also toss the vegetables with the seasonings. Children old enough to handle a knife safely can coarsely chop the vegetables.


To be safe, parents should place the pan in the bag and do the lifting in and out of the oven. Parents should also carve and serve the bird. Because some inks are toxic, use only plain brown paper bags or ones printed with natural vegetable dyes (often found at whole food markets).

Do this first:
Remove the neck and giblet bag from the chicken. Reserve for another use.


Ingredients and steps

  • 1 frying chicken (about 4 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 red or yellow onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 russet potatoes (about 1 pound)
  • 1 cup pitted green salad olives with pimiento
  • 1/4 cup blanched whole almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil

1. Place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Be sure to allow plenty of space so that the brown bag does not come in contact with the sides, top or bottom of the oven.

2. Heat oven to 450 degrees F.

3. Fold the wing tips back and under the bird (not necessary but it makes for a nicer presentation). Place the bird in a 13x9x2-inch baking dish or equivalent.

4. Peel and chop the garlic.

5. In a large bowl, mix the sherry, garlic, paprika, marjoram, and salt together.

6. Rub the spice mixture all over the chicken and in the chicken cavity, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the bowl.

7. Remove the core and membranes from the red bell pepper. Remove the skin from the onion. Trim the root end from the carrot. Cut the red bell pepper, onion, carrot and potatoes into 1-inch chunks and toss them in the bowl with the remaining spice mixture. Add the olives, almonds, and sun-dried tomatoes with a spoonful of their oil, and mix all to coat thoroughly.

8. Lift the chicken and spoon the vegetables around and under the bird.

9. Carefully slide the pan into a clean, brown paper grocery bag. Today's markets are using shorter bags. If the bag is not long enough to fold over the end, then carefully turn the pan around 90 degrees in the bag and then fold and staple the end shut.

10. Place the bag in the oven (make sure the bag does not rest against the top or sides of the oven). Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

11. Carefully remove the bag from oven. Cut open the bag. Let the chicken sit for 10 minutes before serving. Spoon the vegetables on a platter and top with pieces or slices of the chicken.


Recipe © 1999 by Kate Heyhoe

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Table of Contents

Part I: Cooking Together:
The Wisdom of 400 Families

Part II: Putting the Meal Together—Together!

Part III: Cooking 101:
A Handbook for Parents
& Young Chefs

Part IV: Recipes

Part V: Tips In Tens