Whole Roast Chicken
Editor's Note: If you have never roasted a chicken before, then you are truly in for a treat. The hallmark of classic cooking, the roasted chicken is an understated dish that, if done properly, will earn you rave reviews. This recipe for Whole Roast Chicken is exactly what you need if you're roasting a bird for the first time. This four-ingredient chicken recipe couldn't be easier; once you have the basics under your belt, take a look at the author's suggested variations listed below. If you're looking for side dishes to serve with this bird, then you might want to take a look at the author's recipe for Herbed Roasted Vegetables with Feta and Olives.
For aesthetic reasons, many cooks like to truss the bird, that is, tie the legs together. This inhibits the heat from reaching the inner thigh meat, which increases the roasting time. During this time the breast meat can become very dry and overcooked. I prefer not to truss the bird at all, especially if I have planned to carve it in the kitchen.
OccasionCasual Dinner Party
Recipe CourseMain Course
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and TextureCrisp, Juicy, Savory
- One 3½-pound whole broiler-fryer chicken
- 2 tablespoons butter, cut up
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Position the oven racks so that the top rack is in the center of the oven to allow room for the chicken. Place the other rack or racks below. Preheat the oven to convection roast at 450 degrees F. Coat a rack with nonstick spray and set it on a shallow roasting pan.
Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Loosen the skin over the breast and slide a 1½-teaspoon piece of butter under each side. Rub the remaining tablespoon of butter over the surface of the chicken and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Place the chicken, breast side up, on the baking rack and tuck the wings under the shoulders (see Note).
Place the chicken in its pan in the oven and roast it for 35 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 300 degrees F and roast for 25 to 30 more minutes or until the juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the inside of the thigh meat reads 170 degrees F.
Transfer the chicken to a warm platter, cover loosely with foil, and let it rest for about 15 minutes before carving.
Herb Roasted Whole Chicken
Mix ½ teaspoon each of dried basil, dried lavender, dried marjoram, dried rosemary, dried sage, dried summer savory, dried thyme, and fennel seeds in a coffee or spice grinder and grind until powdered. (You can use 4 teaspoons herbes de Provence in place of this mixture.) Rub the chicken inside and outside with olive oil and pat the herb mixture on evenly all over. Place the chicken on the roasting rack and roast as directed. Remove to a carving board and serve.
Asian-Spiced Roast Whole Chicken
Mix 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, and 1½ teaspoons five-spice powder. Rub the mixture over the chicken and roast as directed. After roasting, serve the chicken on a platter surrounded with fresh cilantro.
Curry Roasted Chicken with Lime Juice
In a small pan, melt 4 tablespoons butter and add 1 tablespoon curry powder and 1 minced garlic clove. Sprinkle the chicken with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and brush with the curry butter. Roast as directed, brushing the chicken with the curry butter several times. Transfer the roasted chicken to a carving board, cover loosely with foil, and let it rest for about 15 minutes before carving. Meanwhile, pour off the fat from the roasting pan and set the pan over moderate heat. Add ½ cup water and bring to a boil. Scrape the pan to loosen the browned bits, bring the liquid to a boil, and reduce it to 3 tablespoons. Add any juices that have accumulated from the roasted chicken, 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice, and kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve the juices with the chicken.
Marinated Whole Chicken with Garlic and Rosemary
The day before you plan to cook the chicken, wash it, dry it, and place it into a large zip-top plastic bag. Add ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, ½ cup dry white wine, 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, 4 peeled and coarsely chopped garlic cloves, and ¼ cup olive oil. Seal the bag and refrigerate overnight, turning the bag once or twice. The next day, preheat the oven, remove the chicken from the bag, place it on the roasting rack, and roast as directed, brushing the chicken every 15 minutes with the marinade. Transfer the chicken to a carving board and serve.
Roast Chicken with Fennel Seeds
Combine 2 minced garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Loosen the skin on the breast of the chicken and spread the garlic mixture evenly over the breast, back, and legs. Roast as directed, brushing with olive oil once or twice. Transfer the roasted chicken to a carving board and serve.
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2005 Beatrice Ojakangas