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Monthly Recipe: Classic Roasted Chicken

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Spring is here, and although temperatures are warming up, the nights are still cool enough to handle a classic dish that needs to be a staple in everyones cooking arsenal – Roast Chicken.

Many of us shy away from roasting the whole bird because it can seem intimidating. How will I know when it’s done? What if I overcook it? This simple method is practically foolproof, and delivers a delicious, juicy bird without much trouble at all.

Classic Roast Chicken

–  1 organic whole chicken (4-5 pounds)
–  1/2 stick butter
–  Garlic (optional) (and as many cloves as you want!)
–  Garlic powder (optional)
–  Rosemary (dried and fresh) (optional)
–  Thyme (dried and fresh) (optional)
–  Lemon (optional)
–  Salt and Pepper

Cast iron skillet, if you have one. A sheet pan with a rack, roasting pan, or a dutch oven would also work. You just need something you might roast meat in.

Hot cooking bands (optional)

Pastry brush or Meat Baster (optional)

Meat Thermometer (optional, but good to have)


Step 1: Season & Set Aside
Seasoning your bird ahead of time is well worth the effort. It allows the seasoning time to permeate the bird and it creates really juicy flavorful skin and meat.

Unwrap your chicken as soon as you get home. Remove the pouch inside the bird (if there is one), which contains organ meats and set aside.  You can either cook those up separately or toss them out.

Rinse the bird with water and pat dry.  Then liberally season all over  with salt and pepper (inside and outside). Be bold here. Nobody likes an under-seasoned chicken.

According to your taste, add some flavor!  We like to use garlic, lemon, rosemary, and thyme.  We’ll put whole garlic cloves, fresh rosemary sprigs, fresh thyme branches, and 1/4 cut chunks of lemon inside the bird.  We then season all over the outside with dried rosemary, dried thyme, and  garlic powder.

Loosely rewrap your chicken and let it sit in your refrigerator for a few hours to overnight. If you’ve never tried this, trust me, it’s a game-changer!

If you are planning to cook right away, don’t worry about letting it sit.  Rinse, dry and season your chicken the same as above.


Step 2:  To Truss Or Not To Truss?
Let your bird sit out on the counter for about an hour before cooking. Allowing the meat to come to room temperature helps ensure even cooking.

If you’re feeling fancy, you can truss your chicken. This is basically a fancy way of saying tie the legs down for better cooking. There are two easy ways to do this;

Option 1: Find the fatty skin around the opening. Make a slit in each side, then push the opposite leg through the slit. Voila. Trussed.

Option 2: Use a hot cooking band and rubber-band the legs together.  Easy peasy.

If you want to skip trussing, no biggie.  It’s not essential.


Step 3: Time to Baste!
Now would be a good time to preheat the oven.  Set it to 450 degrees.

Basted and ready to go!

I know, seems high, doesn’t it? Trust me. It serves a purpose.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan.  While it melts, dice up some garlic cloves.

Once the butter has melted, remove it from heat and add the garlic.

Then take a pastry brush or baster and cover the chicken with about half to three-quarters of this mixture, enough to coat the bird all over.

If you don’t have a brush or baster, use a spoon and ladle it over the bird.


Step 4:  It’s All About That Sizzle!
By now you should have a very hot oven, perfect for the sizzle! The sizzle is the first 30 minutes of cooking, on high heat. It sears the bird, trapping in the juices, and helps create that crispy skin everyone loves so much.

So put your gorgeous bird in the oven and hit the timer for 30 minutes.


Step 5:  Re-Baste
Once that timer goes off, take the chicken out of the oven and lower the temperature to 325 degrees.

Time to baste again!

While the oven cools itself, you are going to take the rest of the garlic butter and baste/brush/spoon it all over the chicken. You’re also going to take some of the liquid that has developed in the bottom of the cooking pan and put that on the chicken too.

Don’t take more than a minute or two to do this. You don’t want the chicken losing too much heat.

Give that bird a good once over and pop it back in the oven for another 30 minutes.

When the timer goes off, pull the bird out of the oven and test for temperature with a cooking thermometer.  If you don’t have one of those, you can wiggle the legs – if they move easily and the juices run clear, you’re good to go.


Step 6: Let It Rest
Let the chicken rest on a cutting board for 5-10 minutes before serving. This allows the juices to settle back into the meat.


Step 7:  Feast!
Invite a few friends over, carve up and enjoy!!


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