Roast chicken is one of those wonderful comfort foods and is a staple item that every cook should perfect as part of their arsenal. It creates the building blocks for so many other things that we make. During the fall and winter months, we make this on a nearly weekly basis. It is a great Sunday night meal with leftovers for the week. Plus, we always make chicken stock to use during the week or freeze for later…more on that soon. Sometimes we will throw in a couple extra breasts on the bone if we have a lot planned for the week. We don’t always buy organic for this, but we do always look for a good natural roaster which, according to our butcher, will give you more meat than if you bought two smaller fryers. We usually go to Whole Foods as they seem to have the best consistency and quality in our area. It does cost a bit more than if you go to Costco and buy a roasted chicken, but I do feel like you get more out of roasting at home. It really is amazing how much better a good chicken tastes (and smells!) and how much it effects every dish you make with the ingredients. We used to just buy roasted chickens from the store and the difference is night and day. If you are wanting to get a lot done while making one mess, you can make two chickens and freeze the extra meat and stock. (If you are freezing the meat, try freezing it in some of the stock to keep some of the integrity.) We get 3-4 meals out of each chicken between the initial meal, leftovers, and 1-2 soup meals. Once you get the hang of it, this is something you can easily throw in while you are doing other things.
Mary & Kelly
Simple Roast Chicken
1 4-5 lb Natural Roaster
2-3 T Olive oil or butter
Bell’s Poultry Seasoning
Salt & Pepper
2-3 Ribs Celery
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Rinse chicken inside and out, and then pat dry. This is important for a crisp skin. Baste with melted butter or olive oil. Season with Salt, Pepper and sprinkle with Bell’s poultry seasoning. Got this tip from Martha Stewart and I have to agree that it’s a great product. You can get it at Whole Foods or via mail order.
Stuff the cavity with fresh herbs, parsley, rosemary, whatever you have on hand. I’d also cut an onion and lemon to add to the cavity. If the chicken isn’t trussed, tuck the wings behind themselves and tie the legs together with string. I used to not do this but it really does make it look better and cook more evenly.
If you have a V-rack you can put the chicken on the rack with some celery, onions and carrots under it. I usually use a jelly roll pan or a large skillet and put the veggies under the chicken to hold it off the pan.
Put the chicken in the oven and turn oven down to 450.
Turn on the timer for 1 hour 15 minutes. A lot of recipes tell you to either put the chicken in breast down or turn it over later or to turn it every 15 minutes. Personally, I can’t be bothered with that. Maybe it helps keep it moist, but…I think if it’s upside down it makes the breast look ugly, even if you turn it later. I think fresh cooked chicken, especially if it is a good quality chicken tastes so much better than what we are used to, it doesn’t matter.
Turn the pan around halfway through. When your timer rings, take the temp in the thigh, it should register 175°. Another way to check is to wiggle the leg. It should wiggle pretty easily. And if you poke a knife in the thigh, the juices should run clear and not look bloody.
Allow to rest 10 minutes before carving.