Isn't she gorgeous? There's a reason countless schmancy restaurants serve it. Juicy meat, crisped skin and vegetables cooked to perfection in the drippings.
The variations are endless, but when I'm making roasted chicken, I'm craving traditional comfort. Red potatoes, onion and carrot make the perfect roasting rack and lemon, rosemary and garlic give classic flavor.
Technique Tip #1 -- Rinse out your chicken inside and out and then take the time to pat it dry, both inside and out. If the skin is wet, not only will the spices not stick, but skin won't crisp. The extra moisture would, in effect, just steamed the chicken. No no.
Technique Tip #2 -- Pack the inside full of flavor. Sometimes people only season the skin of chicken, but seasoning and stuffing inside will infuse flavor throughout the meat. The bright floral notes of rosemary are perfectly complemented by hot garlic. With lemon and onion pulling it all together.
Technique Tip #3 -- Tie the legs and tuck the wings. One of the tricky things about a whole chicken, is that the dark and white meats cook at different rates. If you tie up the legs, it holds the bird together and ensures the entire thing cooks more evenly.
Technique Tip #4 -- Grease and season the outside. Give that chicken a full body massage with good olive oil and then load up with salt, pepper and Herbes de Provence. Once the bird is oiled and seasoned, pull the wing tips around front and tuck under the chicken. This will help ensure even cooking and prevent the tips from burning.
Some extra effort in the technique department pays off when you see this beauty come out of the oven.
Your nose will tell you when it's ready and yes, your apartment will smell heavenly. But since this is chicken, it's important to confirm that it's cooked through. Make a small cut between the breast and leg and check the juices. If they run clear, it's all done; but if they're still pink, back in to the oven.
While this small cut is important, you should NOT cut in to the chicken straight out of the oven. Allow the chicken to rest for at least 20 minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute within the meat.
Oh and fancy that, all those veggies are done too. Hello complete meal.
Perfect Roast Chicken
1 4-5lb roasting chicken (I prefer organic)
1 lemon, quartered
2 yellow onions, quartered
1 head garlic
1 bunch rosemary
3-4 carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 lb red potatoes
Herbes de Provence
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse chicken inside and out with cold water. Use paper towels to thoroughly dry the inside and outside of chicken.
Liberally sprinkle salt and pepper on the inside of the chicken. Slice off the top of a head of garlic and stuff the head of garlic inside the chicken, follow with 1/2 an onion, lemon quarters and rosemary. Use kitchen twine to firmly tie the legs together.
In a large roasting pan, spread remaning onions, carrots and potatoes in an even layer on the bottom. Transfer the chicken to the pan, resting on top of the vegetables. Rub down liberally with a few tablespoons of olive oil and then sprinkle with salt, pepper and a few tablespoons of Herbes de Provence. Tuck the wing tips under the chicken.
Roast chicken for 1 1/2 hours. If skin begins to get too brown, loosely cover with aluminum foil. Test chicken doneness by making a small cut between the chicken breast and leg; juices will run clear when chicken is cooked through. Allow chicken to rest for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Serve chicken with vegetables and pan juices.