Well. I don’t know what kind of weather you’ve been having where you are, but here in Chicago, we’re receiving a little bit of a blizzard.
Actually, that’s not right. There’s nothing little about it. Six inches of fluffy white fell fast and furious through the end of my work day and into my commute, meaning what usually makes for a 30-minute drive stretched to just under two hours, full of fishtailing and slushy slow-crawling and, well, clutching the steering wheel while fighting back tears.
Through all that time in the car, I spent a lot of time thinking, mainly about how only an idiot doesn’t fill up her gas tank the morning of a projected snowstorm.
But that was quickly followed by the list of people I could call if I hit empty before reaching an exit, and then a realization that I am blessed indeed.
Also, I knew that if I ever did reach home again (and I was praying with all my heart and shaking hands that I would), there was a golden roasted chicken waiting for me.
The chicken, a shining triumph in my eyes, was the fruit of having Monday off work and spending the day – where else? In the kitchen.
Since he mentioned being inspired by Tyler Florence, I checked out Food Network as well, and what I created was a combination of the two recipes.
It was simply delicious: moist, tender, garlicky, and filled with refreshing citrus.
At first bite, it reminded me of those rotisserie chickens you can buy at the grocery store – which, if you were to spy on me when I need a fast meal, is the kind of thing you’d see me grabbing, along with a loaf of fresh, crusty Italian bread.
But a few more bites in, I realized it was better than that. Like, OH BOY, better. The-reward-at-the-end-of-a-long-commute better. Did-I-really-make-this better!?
I gave some to my brother, who raved about how much he loved it and then emailed me this afternoon to tell me again that it was amazing.
And I knew, steadying my vehicle on the final hill two stoplights before home, that it would be a warm, comforting, satisfying dinner on a night when I felt cold and wet and in need of something hearty.
Here’s another thing you should know about this meal: it’s very easy. I promise.
You season the bird, stuff it with a quartered lemon, half a head of garlic, and some herbs, and stick it in a roasting pan, surrounded by potatoes and carrots.
The veggies at the bottom support the bird so that it doesn’t become drenched in its own juices. This is not an experiment in braising – we want a crispy skin.
Oh, and it goes fast. When I finally arrived at home, wanting to kiss the ground and collapse on the sofa, the roasted chicken carcass was on the counter, completely eaten.
I’m just saying: You won’t want to wait on this one.
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prepare the Chicken
Wash the bird and remove the gizzard, heart, and liver. Remove any remaining pin feathers.
Remove the wishbone. This is really optional but it makes carving the breast much easier, and it is a quick process once you’ve done it a time or two.
Spatchcock the chicken by cutting out the backbone with a pair of poultry shears and breaking the ribs.
Again, this is a super simple process that takes just a minute or two once you’ve done it a few times. And I guarantee you’ll roast most of your chickens this way in the future. Here’s an article with detailed instructions on how to do it.
Step 2 – Mise en Place
Preheat your oven to 375°F. I like to use a convection style toaster oven for small meals, as they heat up quickly and don’t heat up the kitchen.
Chop any larger sized potatoes into thirds or quarters. Peel your carrots with a veggie peeler and chop into large chunks.
Gather the rest of your ingredients to establish your mise en place, so everything will be ready to go.
Step 3 – Assemble
Place your chopped veggies into a lipped sheet pan, roasting pan, or as I did here, a 9-by-13-inch cake pan. Drizzle olive oil over the top and toss to coat.
Stuff your herbs, garlic, and lemons into what is left of the cavity.
Apply liberal amounts of medium flaky sea salt, fresh ground pepper, powdered garlic, and powdered onion to the skin. We are attempting to dry the skin out in the minimal amount of time, like a dry brine would give you. But since we may have a hungry significant other or kids who believe they are “starving” we’re skipping the whole 24-hour brining process.
This dried skin will help to protect the interior and keep it moist while producing a crispy exterior – the antithesis of the slimy chicken skin that no one likes.
Step 3 – Roast
Place your bird into a full sized oven or a convection style toaster oven; the one shown below is the Breville Smart Oven Air and it’s a very handy piece of kit to have in the kitchen (especially during the holidays when you need extra oven space).
Bake until the breast temperature reaches 150°F and the dark meat is 170 – 180°F; this should take about an hour. Check with an accurate meat thermometer.
Note: the US FDA recommends 165°F as the minimum cooking temperature for poultry but most chefs and extraordinary home cooks believe that overcooks the breast, since residual heat will continue to cook the meat after it’s removed from the oven. This is your choice and we aren’t responsible for any “issues” that may arise.
You can also “tent” the bird just out of the oven or smoker to encourage an additional rise in temperature if desired.
Step 4 – Carving (Optional)
You can leave the carcass intact or you can seperate the thighs, drumsticks, and wings as shown below.
Use a sharp boning knife to separate the breast from the ribs into two halves.
And then thinly slice across the grain for a nice presentation and easy eating.
And voila, you’ve roasted a juicy bird with a crispy exterior in a little over an hour. Enough to feed a family of four with minimal prep time.
How about you? How do you like to cook your chicken? Let us know in the comments below, and make sure to check out all of our delicious poultry recipes!
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Photos by Mike Quinn, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published December 16th, 2008. Revised and updated January 12th, 2018, with additional writing and editing by Mike Quinn.
*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.