Roast Chicken

Warning: This post contains graphic chicken images!

I come from people who roast year-round. It could be 90 degrees and humid but if it was Sunday then we were sitting down to roast beef and potatoes. Even though we didn’t go to church we had the same reward dinner as everyone who did.

I’m not really that way myself, at least not totally. I’m more of a fly-the-seat-of-my-pants gal when it comes to meal planning. But like as not, if it’s a Sunday night from September to May I’m roasting a chicken. A roast chicken is a very handy thing. It makes a great Sunday dinner, plus usually two more weeknight meals. Not to brag but after roasting that many chickens, I’ve pretty much got it down. I use the Julia Child roast and flip method. It turns out (pardon the pun) an evenly roasted, juicy chicken without fail. Convection ovens are the best for this, but you can still produce a good bird in a regular oven.

Roast Chicken Basic Method, 3 lb. bird

Set the oven on convection, at 375 degrees. If you’re using a conventional oven set it to 425.

Unwrap your bird and toss any giblet package tucked inside. Give the chicken a thorough washing inside and out with cold water. Remove any surplus fat that may be near the neck, but don’t cut the skin.

As you will notice the chicken is right side up here. You can see the wing tips and the ends of the drumsticks. Turn it upside and place it in a roasting pan.

Add enough water to fill the bottom of the pan 1/2″ deep and slide the pan into the hot oven. What we are going for here is immediate heat to seal the chicken skin and hold in all of the delectable juices. After about an hour you should see something like this:

Beautiful crispy skin with noticeable juices bubbling underneath the surface.

Take two large serving forks and stick them in each open end of the bird. Raise it and flip it over so it is now right side up.

While it was cooking upside down, getting a head start on cooking through the thicker portions, the juices were bubbling down and keeping the breast moist. At this point I  like to season the outside with some paprika, black pepper and cajun seasoning. Slide it back into the oven. When the top is nice and brown (about 35 minutes) turn the oven down to bake, 350 degrees and cook until done (usually another 30 minutes for a three pound bird).

There you have it, a gorgeous succulent roast chicken. But let’s take a look inside shall we? The proof is in the pudding as they say.

   

There you have it. Juices sealed in everywhere, puddling in the crevices, with both breast meat and dark portions cooked to perfection. When you’ve picked over the chicken, pack the bones and any other stock worthy bits in a ziplock bag and freeze. When I have two or more built up I make my basic chicken stock – post to follow in a few weeks.

“You can always judge the quality of a cook or a restaurant by roast chicken.” – Julia Child

Now go find yourself a chicken and make Julia proud. It’s the proper Sunday thing to do.

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