Monday, January 31, 2011

Oneshot: Easy Peasy Roast Chicken

I feel like everyone, no matter what your cooking skill level is, should be able to roast a chicken. Yes, an entire effing chicken.

There she is, in all of her golden, crispy, buttery glory (captured beautifully by my friend Sammi, I might add). Roast chicken is not only a really easy meal, but also a window to a lot of other meals. You can shred it and use it in tacos, salads, or casseroles. The meat keeps really well in the freezer (just don't forget about it) and you can also freeze and save the bones for stock. I'll tell you how I like mine.

First, set your oven's temp to 400 degrees. We want that oven ROCKET hot.

I start with a kosher bird; the supermarkets by my way sell a brand called Murray's. You don't have to use one, go ahead and use Purdue! But I feel like I'm getting a better quality birdie, the taste makes the difference. Make sure you wash your hands before you handle your chicken, folks.

Take her out of her plastic prison, stick your hand inside, and remove the little bag which will prob have the chicken heart, gizzards, neck, etc. You really don't want to leave that in there when you cook your chicken. If you want to save that to make gravy or whatever, go ahead...but I usually discard them. Rinse the bird inside and out under cool running water; I like to do this with some lemon juice. Lends a nice clean flavor, and I think it makes taste less like chicken coop. It's a Caribbean thing. (Also, if the thought of touching a raw, naked bird makes you cringe, use some latex gloves, sans powder.)

Dry the chicken with clean paper towels, set it on a cutting board and contemplate a massage. Not for you, but for the bird! I like to use softened, unsalted butter to rub down my chicken because, well, butter tastes good, and browns excellently. I use unsalted because I like to control how much salt I use. Sprinkle some salt and freshly ground pepper inside the chicken's cavity. Next, I take a quartered red onion (you can use white too, I just had a red one on hand), some springs of thyme and rosemary (just roll them around in your hand til they bruise), 2-3 cloves of crushed garlic, and shove them into the bird's backside.

Graphic, I know.

Grind lots of fresh black pepper and some big pinches of salt all over your violated fowl. I like to squeeze half a lemon all over it too, to add some tang.

Some people like to use a roasting pan and a v-rack set up to roast their chicken...I like to use a cookie sheet because it doesn't squish up the bird. I just throw it on there and fold the wings under the bird so they don't burn. Oh! I used a stiff sprig of rosemary to secure the vegetation inside. Just poke two holes opposite each other over the cavity, and skewer the rosemary through.

Throw your bird into that 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until it starts getting brown. I start it in such a super hot oven to get the skin super crispy and scrumptious, then I turn the heat down to 350-300 and let it ride. Basically browning time, 15-20 minutes; roasting time, 45 minutes to an hour. As Alton Brown says, "Your patience will be rewarded."

How did I know it was done? I wiggled one of the drumsticks, and it was pretty lose. And I sliced a TINY hole in the back near the thigh, and the juices ran clean. I don't have a thermometer. Sue me! After taking it out of the oven, I covered it loosely with foil and let it rest for 10 or 15 minutes to let the juices redistribute throughout the birdie. If you don't do this, and you cut into it too early = DRY CHICKEN. And that, ladies and gents, is a true damn crime.

Ooooo, child....

Ya sweet, sexy thang, you!

I plated this sassy chick with AB's Pearsnip Sauce and some seasoned roasted broccoli (olive oil, salt and pepper, and some lemon pepper seasoning).

You know you want this.

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