Friday, October 3, 2008

101: Roast Chicken

Roasting a chicken is a good basic skill for any home cook. Roast chicken is inexpensive yet very tasty. And once you get past the first one, really pretty easy. The leftovers are great for soup, chicken salad, casseroles ...

Preheat oven to 500.

First - place your roasting pan next to the sink. Open the package of chicken in your sink. Remove the plastic bag of ... ummm ... chicken innards. I normally discard these. The days I'm feeling more ambitious I roast them, and use them for making gravy.

Place the chicken, breast side up, in the pan. I normally cook two at once because it is only 10% more work to make two at a time.

Liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place one or more of the following aromatics in and around the chicken: quartered onion, peeled garlic cloves, celery stalks, quartered lemon, peeled shallots, sprigs or rosemary, fresh sage leaves ...

Put the chicken in the oven. After about 30 minutes (after the top skin starts to brown) turn the oven down - to 350 if you're pretty hungry, or 250 if you need to leave the house for a little bit. Roast to an internal temperature of 160. When you take the chicken out of the oven and let it rest it will continue to to rise in temperature in the middle enough to reach the government specified 165.

Allow the chickens to rest at least fifteen minutes before serving. If you're making the chicken specifically for something else, allow the chicken to rest for at least an hour before "picking" so you don't burn your fingers.

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