We eat roast chicken once a week chez nous (in fact there’s in one in the oven as I write this!). It’s one of the simplest and best home-cooked meals I know. This video I did for Chatelaine covers almost everything, but below are a few additional tips I couldn’t squeeze into a 120-second clip.
1. Buy a good chicken. It’s easy to make a good chicken taste great. It takes way more effort when it’s a not-great grocery store chicken.
- Shop at a butcher shop or small grocery store with a butcher counter. If there’s guy wearing a white coat, you’re likely in the right place.
- When possible, don’t buy one that’s wrapped in plastic-wrap (never buy vac-sealed whole chickens, they get squished!)
- Don’t be fooled by fancy labels like “air-chilled” or “corn-fed”. These terms aren’t regulated and they’re bullshit too.
2. Treat your chicken well.
- When time allows, put chicken in a shallow pan and let it sit in the fridge up to 24 hours (uncovered). This lets the skin get nice and dry which leads to delicious golden, crispy skin.
- No time? Dry the chicken like your life depends on it. Use paper towels and lots of them. Don’t forget the back and cavity.
Everything else is covered in the video. Enjoy!!
- 1 best-quality chicken, about 3 lbs
- 2 tbsp olive or canola oil
- 2 tsp kosher salt (1/2 tsp regular)
- Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
- Half a lemon (optional)
- 1 small onion, quartered (optional)
- Handful fresh parsley or thyme sprigs (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400F (I know this is different from the video but I believe in you!). Place the nicely-dry chicken on a large rimmed baking sheet. You can use a rack underneath it for extra points, but it's not necessary.
- Pour the oil over the chicken and use your hands or a brush to spread it evenly all over the breast, legs and wings. Sprinkle the whole bird with salt, paying particular attention to the wings. Season all over with pepper if you like (children tend to appreciate a non-peppered chicken). Stuff the lemon, onion and herbs into the cavity.
- Roast 15 min then reduce the heat to 350F and roast another 45 min or until it's cooked. If you poke a sharp knife into the meatiest bit of the thigh, the juices that run out should be clear and not pink. Take it out of the oven and let it rest 15 min before carving. Serve drizzled with the delicious juices from the roasting pan.