So I had in mind to post a nice, refreshing, icy cocktail today, but is freezing cold outside! Now, I won’t complain too loudly because I know people in other parts of the country are thinking “shut.it.” I know it is colder other places, and there is horrible weather in other parts of the country today. Having said that, I would just point out that one of the only reasons we live in California, and put up with traffic and congestion and tiny ranch style houses priced around the half million mark, is that it is sunny and warm here. But not today! It is cold and windy so no icy, minty cocktail will be posted today.
Instead I’ll talk about how to roast a chicken. You may be thinking that is mean or sadistic that I’ve put a picture of one of my chickens here, but she is a very mean girl and this can serve as a warning to her. Every once in a while, four of the chickens gang up on one of the chickens, Cherry, and chase her around and peck her and generally torture her. It is really not nice behavior but their tiny, pea sized brains hear no reason. Julia has given them many lectures about good behavior, but they don’t grasp, you know, the meaning of words. Usually they do it if they are bored, or if the one (Cherry) is broody. I try to distract them and I usually end up separating Cherry for a while until their blood lust lets up and they forget what they were doing. This morning I heard it happening again so I went out and threatened to cook them. I don’t really think they got the message.
Anyways, this is not one of my chickens, it is one from Whole Foods. A simple roast chicken is a beautiful thing. Not only does it provide a delicious dinner (or two, depending on how big your bird is), it gives you the makings for chicken stock.
I keep it pretty simple for an easy weeknight roast chicken. Rub it with seasonings, stick a head of garlic and a lemon inside, tie it up and throw it in the oven. Old time recipes call for rubbing the chicken with butter. This is delicious (of course), but normally I just can’t bring myself to rub butter on chicken. I want to live to meet my grandkids. Tying it will help it stay moist and look nice, but if you don’t have string or don’t want to, don’t. It will still be great. This is actually a very forgiving dish. If you do want to tie it, you are going to cut a 2 foot piece of kitchen twine. I do a quick simple truss where I basically wrap the twine around the legs and secure them in tightly to the body of the bird, then cross the twine over and wrap it around the wings. There are all kinds of fancy ways to truss, but the main idea is to wrap the legs in against the bird and close up the cavity of the bird (unless you stuffed too much garlic in there, as pictured here), which will help the bird cook more evenly and look nicer.
There are a couple other little tricks to roast chicken. It is a good idea to rinse it with cold water and then pat it very dry with paper towels. Also it helps it to cook evenly if it is allowed to temper, or come to room temperature, for at least 30 minutes before you put it in the oven. If you are using a thermometer, the finished bird should have a temperature of 160 degrees in the thigh. If you are not using a thermometer, the leg should jiggle easily. The other key to a delicious roast chicken is to let it REST after it is done cooking–just let it sit there without touching it. It will continue to cook slightly, and the meat will reabsorb the juices. If you try to cut it immediately, you will have dry meat and a plate of juice. Let it rest and you have juicy meat.
Once again, if you don’t want to tie, don’t. You could cook this bird upside down, untrussed and it would still be delicious. This is a great meal for a cold day, with the makings for soup the following day. Do you hear that ladies back there in the chicken coop?? A perfect dish for a cold day! Play nice.
|How To Roast A Chicken||
- 1 3 1/2 pound chicken
- 1 lemon, poked several times with a fork
- 1 head garlic, cut in half
- 1/4 tsp each dried thyme, sage, celery salt, paprika, pepper
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- kitchen twine
- Preheat oven to 450.
- Let the chicken sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Rinse the bird and dry it off with paper towels.
- Mix together all of the herbs, spices and salt.
- Sprinkle the inside of the bird liberally with the spice mixture.
- Stuff the lemon and head of garlic inside the bird.
- Truss the bird by tying the legs up against the body. Or not.
- Sprinkle the rest of the spice mixture on the outside of the bird and rub in well.
- Put the bird on a rack and place in a 450 oven for 15 minutes.
- Reduce heat to 350 and cook an additional 1 1/2 hours. For a larger bird, add 25 minutes for each additional pound.
- The bird is done when you poke it and juices run clear.
- Let the bird sit and rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.