Thursday, December 6, 2012

Classic Roast Chicken

Every cook, new or seasoned needs to have a good recipe for a whole roast chicken. Not only can you use it as a dinner staple, but any leftovers can be used in thousands of recipes. 
This recipe is easy, simple, delicious and practically fool-proof (great for the novice cook). Just follow the directions for perfect, juicy roast chicken.  
This is an adaptation/collaboration of my Mother's recipe and Saveur. 

4 oz. good butter at room temperature
1  4-lb. chicken
Salt and pepper
1 lemon
Several sprigs of thyme, sage or tarragon, or a mixture
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

1. Preheat the oven to 450°. Smear the butter with your hands all over the bird. Put the chicken in a roasting pan that will accommodate it with room to spare. I also elevate it on a rack, but you could use carrots, celery and onions-quartered. Season liberally with salt and pepper and squeeze over with the juice of the lemon.

2. Put the herbs and garlic inside the cavity, together with the squeezed-out lemon halves—this will add a fragrant lemony flavor to the finished dish.

3. Roast the chicken in the oven for 10–15 minutes. Baste, then turn the oven temperature down to 375° and roast for a further 45 -60 minutes. The bird should be golden brown all over with a crisp skin and have buttery, lemony juices of a nut-brown color in the bottom of the pan.

**A helpful tip: After roasting is completed, turn off the oven, leaving the door ajar, and leave the chicken to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. This enables the flesh to relax gently, retaining the juices in the meat and ensuring easy, trouble-free carving and a moist bird.