There are few dishes that are as gratifying and comforting as a Roast Chicken. This is one dish that you will find yourself going back to over and over. A chicken can really go a long way! You can use leftovers on practically anything and when time permits, you always use the bones to make a nice stock. It’s always so much better than store-bought.
Always buy the freshest and best quality chicken you can find – opt for either organic, or all natural without antibiotics. Other terms to look out for are "free-range" or "grain-fed" which usually means the chickens are fed a better diet and are raised in better conditions. The healthier the chicken, the better the flavor.
HOW TO PREP THE CHICKEN
Be sure to have a clean working surface before starting. Take chicken out of the package and pat dry. Remove giblets and liver from cavity and discard (or boil to make a tasty broth for gravy) and trim any fat around the cavity. Set aside and prep your brine.
Brining the chicken the night before ensures a foolproof recipe. A brine is a solution of salt water and flavorings like garlic, herbs and spices. Placing the chicken in a brine guarantees plump and juicy chicken every time. Here's a simple brine recipe for a standard 3 pound chicken:
- 1 ½ cup Salt
- 2 cups of brown Sugar
- 3 tablespoons of Peppercorns
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons of fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, or sage
- 2 cups boiling hot water
- and 1 ½ - 2 gallons of cold water
In a large pot, add your salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, bay leaves, and herbs. Add hot water and whisk until the salt and sugar have completely dissolved. Add ice water and stir until cool. The brine must be at least room temperature or colder. Add the chicken. If needed, add more cold water until the chicken is fully submerged. Cover and place in fridge overnight.
Once the chicken has brined over night, remove and pat completely dry, inside and out. This way, the skin turns crisp and brown when baking. Stuff the cavity with garlic and onion, carrots and diced potatoes. Spread butter underneath and over the skin, which makes it even more brown and crisp while keeping the breast extra moist. Sprinkle with salt and pepper before placing into oven.
Let chicken rest to room temperature before placing it in the oven.
- Mashed Potatoes
- Green Beans
- Cream Corn
ROASTING THE CHICKEN
Preheat oven to 450 F.
Place chicken in large ovenproof skillet or large roasting pan. Roast at 450 degrees for the first 30-40 minutes and lower the heat to 350 degrees and cook the rest of the way, about 20-25 minutes. Roast until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickets part of thigh reads 165-170 F. Transfer chicken to cutting board or platter and let rest for 10 minutes.
CUTTING THE CHICKEN
Place chicken breast side up on a cutting board. Using tip of chef's knife, cut between breast and thigh. Gently pull leg away to expose joint, cut joint to free the entire leg. Cut off wings at the joints next.
Slice each breast half from the bone, making sure the knife contours along the rib cage. Remove the entire breast and then slice on the board. Turn bird over and remove the tender morsels of dark meat by just using your hands -- it should literally melt off the bone.
This is a great option for the Holidays as well. If you’re having a smaller gathering this year, roast up a couple chickens instead of baking a large turkey. That way you’re not overloaded with leftovers and roast chicken always looks so beautiful and elegant on the dinner table.
Dress the bird with some fresh herbs and citrus to really wow your guests.