Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Rinse the chicken and pat it dry. Place the chicken breast side up in a roasting pan or lasagne pan. Season the bird with salt and pepper, and then rub the cinnamon all over the skin. If you are looking at your teaspoon full of precious, powdery cinnamon and considering how ever will you rub it on the chicken skin, I can assure you it will be easier if you place it in a bowl first and pinch out what you need as you go.
Once the oven is up to temperature, slide the chicken in its pan into the oven with the legs toward the back wall and the breast facing the oven door. Roast until the skin is crispy and when the bird is pierced, clear liquid runs from it, 55 minutes to 1 hour. Remove your cinnamon bird from the oven and allow it to stand for at least 5 minutes prior to carving.
Approximately 20 minutes before the bird is scheduled to come out of the oven, heat the olive oil in a large sauté or fry pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until it is translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the orange juice, cinnamon, and raisins, stir to combine, and simmer gently until the liquid is reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes.
Serves 4 to 6, $5.00 to $10.00
Estimated cost for four: $8.31. One whole chicken should cost no more than $1.69 per pound, if we’re being fancy about it. For a 4-pound bird, then, we’re talking $6.76. The cinnamon for this dish will set us back approximately 37¢. The olive oil is 24¢, the orange juice is 44¢. The onion is half of an onion that will weigh around ½ pound, so at 65¢ per pound, we’re talking just over 16¢, which we’ll round up and call 17¢. The raisins cost $1.99 for 24 tablespoons; 4 tablespoons costs us 33¢. So for $8.31, you and your family are enjoying an exotic, Spice Road–style dinner. Not bad for the price of admission.
Reprinted with permission from Poor Girl Gourmet: Eat in Style on a Bare-Bones Budget by ©Amy McCoy, published by Andrews McMeel Publishing click for book review