When I was a kid, roast chicken with potatoes and a green salad was one of my favorite dinners. It always felt so comforting and like such an expression of love. I also loved the ritual of it, the carving of the chicken, the fact that everyone had their favorite part—breast, drumstick, the pope’s nose. In addition, the leftover chicken offered the promise of other favorites like chicken sandwiches, pot pies, and creamed chicken. All in all, it was a happy-making meal for me.
The first time I ever made one for myself I was completely petrified. First of all, I was going to have to touch raw chicken. Just the thought gave me the heebie-jeebies. And then I was terrified that it wouldn’t turn out right and all would be ruined. Little did I know that it was an incredibly simple process, and one that would bring me so much satisfaction (and lots of delicious food!). I also found that touching the raw chicken was also quite meaningful for me. I was getting closer to my food and really understanding it better.
Many of us never learned how to make basic recipes (like a roast chicken) and they have become these intimidating presences in our cooking consciousness. We convince ourselves that it is too hard or complicated, that we are not good enough cooks, that it will be a disaster. But the truth is, simple cooking with simple ingredients is a good way to get to delicious food. Sure, you can get fancy with your roast chicken with different rubs, basting, trussing, stuffing, etc. and I do that sometimes, but most of the time I like to keep it really simple and love it every time.
So first some myths to dispel.
1) You don’t need to wash the chicken. With proper cooking, the germs that you might rinse off in the sink will naturally get killed off. In addition, when you wash the chicken, all those germs have to go somewhere and that somewhere is your sink and wherever water may splash. So don’t wash it.
2) Trussing is nice, but not necessary. Trussing a chicken is when you keep the legs and wings in close to the bird’s body with string so that it all cooks evenly. Yes, this is a nice thing. Yes, someday you might want to try it. But you can absolutely get a great tasting chicken without taking this step. So keep it simple and skip it, at least for now.
So let’s get right into it.
- 1 chicken
- 1 onion
- Dried herb of some sort (thyme or rosemary are both great)
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- Make sure your chicken is at room temperature. This means it needs to be left out on the counter for at least an hour before you are going to start cooking.
- Preheat the oven to 450 and set an oven rack in the middle of the oven.
- Open the chicken’s packaging and pull any little baggies out of the chicken’s chest cavity. These are some of the organs of the chicken. You can use them for making gravy, but for the purposes of your first chicken, just toss them.
- Cut an onion in half and stuff both halves into the chest cavity. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and dried herbs inside as well.
- Place the chicken breast-side up on a roasting rack in a roasting pan.
- Sprinkle the outside of the chicken with salt, pepper, and herbs. Drizzle some olive oil on top and then rub the oil and spices into the skin a little bit (like for 5 seconds)
- Flip the chicken over, so it is now breast-side down, and repeat step 6.
- Put the chicken in the oven and set your timer for 10 minutes.
- When timer goes off, turn the oven down to 350. Set your timer again for the amount of time it will need to get half-way through your cooking time. What does that mean?? With this approach, you need to allow 20 minutes per pound. So if it is a three-pound chicken, then that is one hour of cooking time. So, in this case, you would set your timer for 20 more minutes.
- When the timer goes off again, pull the chicken out of the oven, close the oven door to keep the heat in, and flip the chicken so it is now breast-side up. The easiest way to flip a chicken is, with oven mitts on, to reach two hefty forks inside the cavity, one on each end, and flip. Set your timer for the second half of the cooking time.
- When the timer goes off this time, check to see if the chicken is done. I like to wiggle the drum sticks to see if they are loose and make a small cut into the thigh to make sure the juices run clear (no blood or fogginess).
- Take the chicken out of the oven and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. The internal temperature of the chicken actually continues to rise during this time, cooking it a little bit more.
NOTE 2: I highly, highly recommend chopping some potatoes or sweet potatoes into bite-sized pieces, tossing them with some salt, pepper, and olive oil and throwing them in the bottom of the roasting pan for the whole time you are roasting the chicken. They are an amazing side!!
- See more at: http://www.balancedkitchen.com/blog/2014/11/easy-roast-chicken#sthash.GizMLzDX.dpuf