Sunday, February 20, 2011

Don't be a CHICKEN SH*T!

Up until recently, not only did I have ZERO idea how to roast a chicken, but the simple act of cooking a whole chicken essentially freaked me out, intimidated me into a state of cooking paralysis.  My fears ranged from undercooking to overcooking, carving to cleaning, widespread Salmonella, and, not the very least, having it taste just god awful.

People, listen up.  Are you listening?  THIS IS SOOOOOOOO EASY and delicious!!!

So delicious, in fact, that I don't even have any "after" pictures from the other night because we were so voracious when the chicken came out of the oven.  The smell had enveloped the house and intoxicated us, so we ate...  I completely forgot to photograph the cooked bird.  (my apologies)

Henry patiently waits
My dear friend, Amy, has held my hand through this recipe of hers many times, because I'm so mental about it.  I call her every time to practice a verbal dry-run, and she listens every time, no judgement.  She's a good friend.

Preheat oven to 375 or 400 degrees, depending on your oven, and how fast you want to cook your chicken.
This is a 5 pound organic chicken, and I cooked it for about an hour and fifteen minutes.

Rinse chicken and pat dry.  Palm some kosher salt inside the chicken cavity, shove a couple/few stems of rosemary and thyme inside as well.  Rub some extra virgin olive oil on the outside of chicken, along with kosher salt and pepper, and place it breast side down in a baking dish/pyrex.  Meanwhile...

Boil a big pot of water and put the quartered potatoes in, (these are organic golden potatoes, but you can use any kind), also toss about 6, 7, or 12! cloves of garlic in the water, skins on, and a whole lemon.  Once the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, drain the water.  (This usually takes about 5 minutes or so.)  Take the lemon in a set of tongs ('cause she's hot!) and pierce it so the juices shpritz out, then quickly shove the spraying lemon into the bird, and put the garlic cloves inside the cavity as well.  Surround the bird with the potatoes in a couple glugs of olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, and, if I have it, I sprinkle them in dill.

Here she is "before:"
HA!  I fear thee no longer!

And you're DONE!  Put 'er in the oven, and visit 'er in an hour.  At that time, cut into the skin, look at the meat, and if the juices run clear, it's time to eat.  I usually put it in for another 15 minutes, just to be sure.  Momma's still a little paranoid.

Hey listen, it occurs to me that I could be alone here, and everyone's roasting chickens right and left, but just in case, and to make my little inner-Oprah proud, if I can help just one person with this post, it will have been worth it.  I'm a giver.

Late Addition:  My friend, Blythe, commented that she puts her chicken in breast side up, so I consulted the Queen, Alice Waters.  Here's what she writes, and I will definitely be trying this technique next time.  Thanks Blythe!  
Put chicken in breast side up; and roast for 20 minutes, then turn the chicken breast side down. Turning the chicken helps it cook evenly by circulating the juices and fat throughout the bird and allows the skin to brown and crisp all over. After another 20 minutes turn the chicken breast side up again and roast until done.
Anyone else?  How do you put your chicken in the oven?  Do tell.


  1. Sounds so good, but in my experience I cook it breast side UP so that the meaty and skin part of the chicken gets crispy. Otherwise you end up with a crispy back...

  2. hmmm, I've done both, but Amy said breast side down. Perhaps we should ask the experts!

  3. Cooks Illustrated suggested a combination in order to keep the breast meat moist - starting with breast down, and finishing breast up. Seems to work well. I am also a proponent of brining if you have time - some people think it makes it too salty, but if you rinse well (then no additional salt for the bird) I think it makes a real difference with the breast meat.

    Love the lemon idea - any time you have a "shpritz" of anything, it's better.