Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Simple Roast Chicken

Once my boyfriend and I walked into Ralph's just before 10pm and noticed the rotisserie chicken display had a crowd milling impatiently around it. As we stared at the people quizzically, a man turned to us and whispered "They're about to go half-off." While I had no idea that there was a whole culture surrounding the 10pm price-slashing of grocery store roast chickens...I do know that a chicken fresh from your own oven will please even the pickiest of carnivores. This is probably the best recipe to have up your sleeve. Classic, easily modified to your tastes, and seriously delicious.

Simple Roast Chicken
  • 1 3-4 lb. whole chicken, giblets removed, rinsed and patted dry
  • Mixture of carrots, red potatoes, and onions
  • 4 lemons
  • 15 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Olive oil or butter
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • Spanish smoked paprika (optional)

Preheat oven to 450. Place vegetables in a roasting pan. Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables. Sprinkle with salt. Place chicken over the vegetables in pan. Loosen the skin on the chicken with your fingers. Halve the lemons and juice them. Rub the juice all over the chicken, inside the cavity as well. Quarter your lemon rinds and stick them in with the vegetables. Next rub the chicken with olive oil or butter, being sure to get some inside the skin over the breast. Pay special attention to getting the breasts and drumsticks. Next cover the chicken with salt and pepper, being sure to get some inside the cavity. Put 2 half lemons inside the bird, along with 4 of the garlic cloves and a sprig of thyme. Sprinkle thyme leaves and paprika over the bird and vegetables. Scatter garlic cloves among the vegetables as well.

Put chicken and vegetables in oven for 15 minutes, then lower heat to 375. Roast for an hour. After an hour, put an instant read thermometer into the meatiest part of the thigh. It should read at least 165**. If it's not quite there, put it back in for another 5 or so minutes.

Take the chicken out and let it rest for 15 minutes. Make a salad, prepare the roasted vegetables as a side, or whisk some flour into the pan juices to make gravy in the meantime. Carve and serve.

**I don't have an instant-read thermometer. And honestly, shame on me. And on you, if you're in the same boat. We should both order one right now.

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