I made roasted chicken for dinner last night - something I don't often do. For some reason it has a tendancy to intimidate me - whether it's not getting it to turn out with moist meat and crispy skin, or just thinking that it's a pain in my backside - I'm not really sure. But, after last night's supper - I'll definitely be adding it to our menu more often. It was so easy. And, so yummy!
The most important part to do before you get started is to pre-heat the oven to 500 degrees and lower the rack to the 2nd lowest spot it can go in the oven.
Next, put a roasting rack in your cake pan or roaster. I found that spraying the roasting rack with a little bit of cooking oil helped to release the bird when it was done, as well as make clean-up much easier. Wash the bird in cold water and take out the packet of innards. Fold the wings under the back and place it on the roasting rack.
Sprinkle the cavity with salt and pepper.
Rub the skin and the breast under the skin with butter. Be generous. Butter is good for a bird. (Olive oil can do in a pinch.)
This next part is where you can feel free to get creative. I always salt the skin with salt and pepper. This time I used lavender sea salt. I also, sprinkled on some French Thyme. Whatever herbs are your flavor preferance can be used. I also use fresh herbs when I have them. Rosemary is divine. This always changes by what I have on hand, though.
The next part is the cavity. It is a great place to infuse flavor from the inside. I always stick a couple cloves of garlic in the cavity. Last night I also added 1/2 an apple. Sometimes, I add celery and onion or oranges and more fresh herbs... it really doesn't matter - you just want to add more flavor.
I put the rest of the apple in the bottom of the pan along with the innards - these are my husbands favorite. Then, and this is the super important part, before you stick the bird in the oven - pour 1 inch of water in the bottom of the pan. It really helps to keep the meat moist.
Now we're ready for the oven. Roast the bird uncovered at 500 degrees. The amount of time will vary according to the size of your bird. Mine was really large - probably 5 lbs or more. It took about 1 hour and 15-20 minutes. The important thing is to wait for the little white thing to pop up - or until the meat reads 185 degrees with a thermometer.
One last thing - leave it uncovered until the skin is a nice, crispy, golden brown - then loosely cover it with foil for the rest of the baking time. You're striving for golden brown, not burnt.
This was so yummy! The skin won rave reviews. :0)
The key is to cook it high (500 degrees) and put that water in the bottom of the pan. These are the two things that will keep your bird juicy and it's skin delish. This is also how I cook my turkey now.
It didn't take long at all to prepare the bird for the oven and then I was free to let it be until it was done. I just had to whip together some simple sides (basmati rice, asparagus, carrot salad) and dinner was ready to be served.
I hope that you consider roasted chicken the next time you're in a menu planning funk.