Although simple to prepare, roast chicken can make an elegant entrée, perfect for family and guests alike. My recipe is fool-proof and comes out perfect every time. Sometimes, simple IS better!
Serves up to 4 people
5 to 6 pound chicken
1 lemon, quartered
3 to 4 Rosemary sprigs
6 cloves fresh garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
Sea Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Place oven rack on second to the lowest level and preheat oven to 500°F. Remove neck and giblets; reserve for other use. Rinse chicken inside and out; dry with paper toweling. Remove excess clumps of yellow fat from the cavities at both ends. Cut off the wing tips. Rub the cavity with oil, sea salt, and pepper and then stuff with the lemon wedges, garlic cloves, and sprigs of Rosemary.
Place the chicken in a roasting pan breast side up. Put in the oven legs first and roast 50 to 60 minutes. After 10 minutes, move the chicken with a wooden spatula to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the roasting pan. The chicken is done when the juices run clear.
Remove the chicken from the roasting pan, tilting as you remove the bird so that the juices run out into the pan. Reserve juices for other use or make a quick pan sauce white the chicken is resting.
To carve, transfer bird to carving board, breast side down. Allow to rest 5 minutes, then turn breast side up. To carve, remove the legs, and then separate the thigh and the drumstick. Slice the breast parallel to the ribs.
Use a pan that is just slightly larger than the bird. When using a 13 X 9 pan, position the bird so that the leg end almost touches the edge of the pan. Fill in the open space with a wad of foil. Make sure that the bird does not touch the sides of the pan or the foil for even browning and uniform doneness.
High heat roasting can cause ovens to smoke so always start out with a clean oven. Position the bird in the lower part of the oven to avoid over browning.
When roasting 2 birds, use one pan, making sure that the birds do not touch each other or the sides of the pan. Rotate the pan midway through the cooking cycle.
Add more flavor by mixing a few tablespoons of olive oil with a clove of minced garlic, 2 teaspoons minced rosemary, a pinch of sea salt, a few grinds of fresh black pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Gently run your fingers between the skin and the meat to form a pocket. Using a basting brush or your fingers, rub the oil and herb mixture on the meat (between the meat and the skin).
To test for doneness, insert an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. IT should register between 170°F and 175°F. You can also test for doneness by piercing the thigh with a long fork or skewer; juices should run clear.