The beginner’s guide to roasting a chicken

11 Jan

A roast whole chicken looks so impressive when you serve it to guests, but it’s so ridiculously easy to make! Leftovers are also amazingly versatile.  I roast a chicken the exact same way I roast a turkey…it’s all the same idea, just with different sized birds (my parrots, however, prefer that I don’t roast any bird).

You’ll need a whole chicken, a lot of peeled garlic (it’s super cheap at Costco), butter, an onion cut into large chunks, and some spices.  I picked up a packet of fresh sage, rosemary, and thyme at the grocery store, but I frequently use dried.  Other herbs that I sometimes include are basil, parsley, savory, marjoram…whatever I see that seems like it would work ok.  It’s a highly unscientific process.  Also, one time I already had the bird in the pan and I was in the process of preparing and learned we inexplicably were completely out of butter.  You can easily substitute margarine or even crisco for the butter, and it works just as well (actually, I think the crisco may even work better).

While you’re preparing the chicken, preheat the oven to 350.  You’ll want to pull all the giblets and the neck out of the bird.  A better cook than I would use them for gravy or fried chicken livers or something, but I just throw them out.  You then loosen the skin from the chicken, and stuff butter and herbs and salt and pepper underneath the skin.

Fill the cavity with the onion, some of the herbs, salt and pepper, and the garlic.  You should use a lot of garlic.

Seriously. A lot of garlic.

I don’t usually bother to tie the feet of the bird back, but the garlic kept spilling out of the cavity, so I had to tie the feet in order to keep it all contained.

We had a big package of Baby Bella mushrooms that I hadn’t yet used, so I filled up the roasting pan with them and cut up onion.  You can use any roastable vegetables you have handy– carrots, potatoes, winter squash, brussels sprouts, etc.

I purposely roasted the chicken breast-side-down, so that the fat would drip downward and keep the breast meat juicy.  You will want to cover the chicken with foil, and roast it until it’s 170 degrees.  For a 5 lb chicken that’s about an hour and a half to two hours.  I took the foil off of the chicken for the last 15 to 20 minutes, so that the skin would brown.

Voila! Here it is, all nice and done! It turned out deliciously.  We ate this at my in-laws, and I didn’t bother to do anything fancy in terms of presentation.  If you are entertaining, I suggest serving the chicken on a platter, and serving the mushrooms separately.  That way, you can splash some balsamic vinegar over the mushrooms.  Roasted mushrooms are delicious, but roasted mushrooms with balsamic vinegar are heavenly.

Bon appetit!

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