One of my favorite meals to eat and to make is roasted chicken. Golden brown crispy skin, and tender juicy meat, this is one powerful comfort food. You could say it is a classic.
Roasted chicken is a very simple, yet versatile dish. You can make rubs or glazes to cover the bird, using any flavor combinations that inspire you: cilantro-lime-cumin, soy-ginger, herbed, or the simple classic version, are a few I use.
The rub below is great for turkey and I use a similar version on my prime rib (against my father's belief that nothing but salt and pepper belongs on prime rib).
The funny thing about roasted chicken is that everybody has an opinion on the right way and the wrong way to roast a chicken. My only opinion is that it is a staple dish that every home cook should know how to make. It may take a few hours to cook, but there is minimal preparation and active cooking time, and the end product is so much more complex.
So, find yourself a recipe you are comfortable with and successful at making, and you will have plenty of comforting roasted chicken meals. I have slow roasted chicken at 300 degrees and roasted them at 450 degrees. I stick to about 350 degrees for 2 hours, or 400 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Either of these methods keep the chicken juicy with crispy skin. The slower you roast a chicken the juicier the chicken, but the stickier the skin will be (if you like that). Roasting a chicken is easy, and you will love sitting your family down to this satisfying homemade meal.
CITRUS SALT ROASTED CHICKEN
1 whole fryer chicken
1/2 stick butter (or use olive oil)
1 white onion
2 celery sticks
1 package mushrooms
6 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoon finely chopped sage
1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme (plus 2 sprigs for the cavity)
1 tablesoon finely chopped rosemary
Zest of 1 lemon
Mix all together.
Clean your whole chicken. Spread just enough butter over the skin of the chicken and little under the sink on the breast. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon inside the cavity, and the other half on all over the outside of the chicken.
Starting with the cavity, sprinkle some of the rub inside. Then moving to the backside of the chicken, sprinkle the rub all over and rub it around with your hand. Flip the chicken and repeat on the breast side. Stuff the cavity with the lemon half you just squeezed, two cloves of garlic cut in half, thyme sprigs and onion, quartered.
Tie the legs together, or truss your chicken (trussing a bird helps the bird cook evenly).
Trussing: Place the bird breast side up, fold the wing tips under the bird. Slide some kitchen twine under the bird closest to the neck end. Bring the twine up on each side of the bird, pull the twine over the legs (between the breast and legs) then wrap the twine under the ends of the chicken legs. Pull the twine around the leg bone bringing the twine together around the leg, pulling the bird together into a nice shape, then tie a knot.
You can go to www.chow.com and search "how to truss a chicken." There is a very short (1 1/2 minute) video on trussing a chicken. This is a fantastic online resource for anything from trussing a bird to tempering chocolate.
In a roasting pan or glass dish toss some carrots, onion, celery, and mushrooms. Drizzle a little olive oil and salt and pepper and toss the vegetables. Make room in the middle to lay your chicken, if cooking in a glass dish set the bird right on top of the vegetables.
Place the bird in a 350 degree oven for about 2 hours or until the thickest part of the thigh registers 180 degrees and the juices run clear.
Allow your chicken to rest - this is a very important step, let the juices redistribute. Resist the urge to cut into the beautiful golden skin, I know it is hard but it is well worth the wait!
Serving suggestions- roasted ranch potatoes with roasted asparagus, and try lemon raspberry cupcakes for dessert (all on my blog). Enjoy!
• Amanda Skiba is passionate about cooking and posts her favorite recipes at www.stuffurface.wordpress.com.