How to Roast a Chicken

>> Sunday, January 31, 2010

As you can tell from this picture above, my chicken turned out perfect. I normally wait and post the final pictures of meal at the end of the posts, but I just couldn't. Look at that thing, it's just beautiful!

Here's the deal: I was nervous. Roasting a chicken just seems like a big, big ordeal. So many questions arose - what if I overcook it? What if I undercook it? How long should this bird take? What do I do with afterwards? [Please read: I am roasting this chicken on a Friday night and ruining it would really make me a loser]

Luckily, I had my Tom to guide me. Although I don't write about it all the time - my Tom Collichio cookbook is an integral component in almost everything I cook. His book is filled with great techniques that allow me to be creative while understanding the process. The recipe for this chicken I took very literally from his Think Like a Chef cookbook, but now that I understand the steps I have already been brainstorming more creative approaches.

Let's get down to it. Here is how you roast a chicken:

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • a 3lb roasting chicken
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • butter 
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • shallots peeled and halved (optional - but they are mega delicious in this recipe)

Firstly, if your grocery store offers it, I would spring for the extra bucks and try to get a free range organic chicken. There's lots of reasons behind this, but just trust me - its worth it.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and then place your chicken on a cutting board and remove the inards (I have bought chickens where this is already done and some where they keep the inards inside the chicken - just remove them). Next wash your chicken under cool water then pat dry absorbing all excess moisture.

If you have very sharp scissors, cut the first joint of the wing. Tom advises this and I am guessing the logic is - it's not really adding anything and can burn, thusly it's out. Also trim an excess fat around the "butt" of the bird.

Once you chicken is dry and the front wing removed, heavily salt and pepper your bird. Go ahead and salt and pepper the cavity too. Then add your thyme and rosemary to the birds cavity.

After this Tom advises to truss the bird. I am going to be honest. Didn't do it. Didn't even try. I did not have butchers string and to be honest seemed like a lot of work. If you would like to truss your bird here's a video, but if you don't want to, and as you can see I didn't, it's fine. It's not going to ruin everything.

Now your bird is salted, peppered and stuff with rosemary and thyme. Next we need to heat an oven-proof skillet on medium heat with some olive oil. Once the oil slides easily across the pan, it's time to turn our bird on her side and start this cooking process. Do this on both sides for 7 minutes.

Once the bird has been seared on both sides, lay the bird flat so that the breasts are face up, add the shallots to the pan then transfer to the oven.

After 20 minutes, add in about two tablespoons of butter to the pan (or more if you want - I really love butter) then let chicken roast for another 30 minutes basting about every ten minutes or so.

Once the breasts reach a temperature of 160 degrees shes ready. Remove from the oven and cover the chicken with aluminum foil for 10 more minutes. Remove from the pan and serve with a sprinkle of sea salt. Viola!! Roasted chicken.

This recipe provides the most moist and delicious chicken I have had in my life. I know what you are thinking - do I only feel this way because I made it? Sure, but other people really enjoyed it too, so unless you are calling my friends liars - this is a great recipe.

Not to mention it's extremely cost effective. A 3lb chicken should not cost you more than ten dollars and will serve four - can't beat that!

I will be testing out some new variations on this recipe and of course will let you know if I find one I really like.


bamatrash February 4, 2010 at 2:00 PM  

I cook roasted chicken all the time. It's ridiculously easy. I do it a different way, but basically can't go wrong. A few suggestions: Buy the bird already cut up. It makes it so much easier. I also brine the chicken for around 6 hours before. Basically, you just immerse the chicken in water and add salt and sugar (or agave syrup). Put it in overnight, then dry it off and put it back in the fridge to use later. Also, some ingredients I add: You must, must, must add garlic cloves. You can roast the garlic while you roast the chicken and it is just amazing. Also, I add fresh dill to the chicken and squeeze lemon juice. Amazing.


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