It always impresses me about Meagan’s cooking: she can take a nearly bare pantry and make something amazing out of scant ingredients. (A handy skill when you live way out in the middle of the woods like we do.) She’s done it time and again, and this was no exception…
“Let’s see, we’ve got chicken thighs, some sun-dried tomatoes, a few veggies left in the drawer… no problem!”
An hour later, we’re eating a dish that rocked our socks, warmed us up on a cool winter’s eve, and one we both agreed: “Put it on the blog!” Continue reading →
If you only learn how to make one thing in the kitchen, this should probably be it. There’s nothing like a crispy, juicy bird right out of the oven. If you’re anything like us, you’ll be fighting every instinct to savagely claw into the thing and devour it down to the bones before it ever sees a plate.
But roasting a chicken to perfection may seem like an intimidating and time-consuming task. Why not just reach for the grocery store rotisserie birds and call it dinner?
A) Roasting a chicken is ridiculously easy. Really, really, stupidly easy.
B) When you eat those store birds, do you really know what you’re consuming?
Some of them are time-stamped, so at least you know how many hours it’s been sitting there under the heat lamp. Some of them. But do the stamps contain any info about whether the bird was raised in a factory farm? Was it fed antibiotics? Or genetically engineered grains, like corn and soybeans? Was it exposed to arsenic? Was it gobbling down pesticides its entire life? Or did it enjoy an idyllic existence of chasing down and chomping on insects in an open field?
Roasting your own chicken puts you in charge. Find a quality bird from a source you trust. Then follow these simple instructions and sit back as your magic oven gnomes perform a miracle and dish you up some perfectly roasted yummy yardbird!
Perfectly Roasted Whole Chicken*
Active Time: 10 mins of prep
Total Time: 1 hr.
1 whole organic chicken
generous, heaping amounts of:
sea salt of choice
ground thyme (optional)
any other herbs or spices you desire
Make sure chicken is removed from the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to cooking. (If you cook a cold bird it will be pink and chewy next to the bone.)
Preheat oven to 450.
Remove the giblets from the cavity of the bird (if your butcher includes them)
Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and place in your Dutch oven or roasting pan (we sometimes use the cast-iron skillet and it works great!) Getting the skin really dry here is what is going to give it that perfect crisp when it comes out.
Rub salt, pepper and herbs over every portion of the skin. Be very generous and really try to coat the thing in spices.
Place it in the oven, breast down, for exactly 60 minutes.
And that’s it. Seriously.
The oven does all the work and it comes out looking like this, every time. No basting, no checking every ten minutes, no thermometers.
The keys here are using a room-temperature bird, getting the skin really dry, and being generous with the spices. Do these three things and the skin will crisp up perfectly, the bird will cook all the way through, and the meat will fall off the bone and swim in its own juices. (Which you’re going to want to use for dipping the meat into. MMMmmm.)
Speaking of bones… you’re not done with them. Throw them into a pot for bone broth. (Stay tuned for our broth recipe). Add whatever juices are left (assuming you haven’t dipped them dry) to the broth and enjoy an extremely nutritious, gut-healing, brain-soothing hot drink!
*This recipe is basically cribbed from renowned chef, Thomas Keller. The only thing he recommends, which we leave out, is to truss the bird before it goes in the oven. We’ve found it comes out just as good without the trussing, and makes it one step simpler.
Let us know how your chicken turned out in the comments below!