Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Once my friend Burke gave me a fantastic article on making roasted chicken. I've looked all over for it (I was sure I put it in my DO NOT DELETE email folder) but can't find it. So I'll try to retell it as best I can.
spices (I used basil and sage)
orange (or lemon)
I think the basic rule of thumb is to have about 1/2 pound of meat for each guest. (We're supposed to have somewhere between six and eight meat eaters over for dinner, so I got a whole chicken at the grocery store that weighed about five pounds.)
Preparing the chicken before roasting does not take that long, but I do find I wash my hand a lot. (I get a little freaked out with the raw meat and hate the idea of unscrewing spice lids, etc. with raw chicken hands.)
Remove the chicken from the packaging. Rinse with cold water and check for any unplucked feathers. I never had this feather problem in the US, but sometimes do in the UK. If I find any feathers I pull them out. Check the cavity (you may need to untie the legs) of the chicken and remove any giblets or any other "parts" that may be inside. I think you're supposed to pat the chicken dry after rinsing it, but I don't.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the chicken in the roasting pan. Drizzle olive oil over the chicken and sprinkle with sea salt. Rub the salt and oil into the chicken, making sure to work it into the the breast, wings and legs. Turn the chicken over and rub the oil and salt on the underside. You can work your way under the skin and rub salt there as well. I usually don't bother.
Flip the chicken so the legs are on top. Depending how large the cavity is, use a combination of citrus (orange or lemon), onion and garlic to stuff it. For the five pound bird I used 1/2 a yellow onion (with skin still on), one whole lemon (cut in half) and half a head of garlic (I did not peel it.) Stuff in the onion, squeezed the lemon (or orange) over the chicken and then stuff it in and then add the garlic.
Sprinkle additional spices over the top of the chicken, coating it well. I used cracked black pepper, dried basil and ground sage. If possible, tie the legs together (using string or the original tie provided when the bird was purchased). I didn't tie the legs very tightly on this one.
Place the chicken uncovered in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Cooking it at a high temperature and uncovered browns the skin and makes it crispy. Here's the bird after roasting for 30 minutes uncovered.
Turn the oven down to 200 degrees F and cover the chicken. Cooking it covered and a low temperature makes the chicken really moist. Cook for 2-3 hours until the chicken is fully cooked. (If the chicken were smaller, I would transfer it to a crock pot and cook it for at least 2-3 hours, but sometimes for four or more, depending on the timing of the meal.) If I was thorough I would use a meat thermometer. But I don't. I do stick a knife in where the thigh meets the leg and make sure the juices run clear.
When the chicken is done, remove it from the pan and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Using a large carving knife, carve the chicken. I know there's an art to carving a chicken, but I don't know it. I just cut it and eat!