Simple is Delicious: Roast Chicken
Have I mentioned that I moved three weeks ago? My new apartment looks out over the Cumberland River, has a washer and dryer and best of all, a huge kitchen table! Now I can have sit down dinners with friends, complete with colorful serving dishes, local flowers, local music and plenty of wine. Could a girl ask for more?
My first sit down dinner in my new place was a big deal. I wanted it to be special, and it was. To my delight my friend Sarah called me last Sunday to report that it was time to pick the first arugula from her garden! We made a plan: on Wednesday she would make a salad with mustard vinaigrette and I would roast chicken.
Can you believe that I had never roasted a whole chicken by myself before that? It's true!
What's really wonderful about a whole chicken is that you need very, very few things to make it delicious. Furthermore, one chicken makes a minimum of three dishes.
To get a perfect, crispy chicken, you must do five things:
1. Clean the insides. It is both disgusting and unsafe to roast a chicken with a plastic bag of guts inside of it.
2. Pat the chicken dry with a kitchen towel. Water creates steam; steam prevents crispiness.
3. Stuff the cavity with onions, a couple lemon wedges and salt. Truss the chicken, or simply tuck the wings under and tie the legs together.
4. Do NOT add oil or butter. It goes against common logic, but oil and butter can also create steam, once again, preventing crispiness.
5. Douse, and I do mean douse the bird with kosher salt.
My bird was four-and-a-half pounds. I roasted it at 450 for about an hour and forty minutes. When it was done, I brushed most of the salt off and chopped it into pieces.
We ate it (and the arugula salad) with our hands. It was rustic, almost primal. On Thursday I enjoyed the leftovers in a pesto chicken salad sandwich. Today I used the carcass to make soup. More to come on that...later.
*Cook's note: Obviously a roasting pan is ideal for roasting. I don't have one. This is what I use: Cuisinart Everyday Pan.