Sunday, April 5, 2009

Roast Chicken

Oddly enough, roast chicken was my favorite dish growing up. It beat out lasagna, macaroni and cheese, and whatever else a kid normally goes for. To this day I love nothing more than a roasted bird with some starch and a vegetable, maybe accompanied by a nice gravy. John, my fiancées father and close cooking counterpart (say that five times fast) passed this recipe along to me last week and I decided to give it a whirl. Delicious is the first thing that comes to mind. Juicy on the inside, crisp skin on the outside, this bird pretty much has it all.

Placing a chicken in a baking dish, seasoning it and roasting it for about an hour will give you pretty good results by itself. Add maybe 4 more steps though, and you can make the penultimate bird. First, start with the bird itself. No stuffing, ever. It will only dry out your chicken. But you also do not want all of the fat and goodness to sit inside of your bird and make it soggy. So before you cook it, flip the chicken on its back and cut a few shallow ridges in the fatty underside, this will allow any rendered fat to be released and drain out (don’t worry, we will not waste it). After you cut some channels, take a thin knife or skewer and poke the chicken in its skin and fat layer all over. This will promote more fat release from the bird, giving the end goal of crispy skin.

The seasoning is pretty straight forward with the added benefit of cornstarch, which gives crispiness but no strange flavor. Roasting the bird in a rotational manner gives even browning and equal doneness. As for all that rendered goodness that we let escape? Potatoes underneath the chicken allow for an easy side dish.

Come back next time and see what to do with the leftovers.

Roast Chicken

1 4-5 pound chicken
2 t salt
1 t pepper
2 t cornstarch
1 ½ -2 pounds small red potatoes, quartered
2 tsp vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 475°F. Prep chicken by cutting channels in the bottom and poking some holes in the skin all over (see above). Tuck the wings and legs in to prevent them from drying out. Combine the salt, pepper, and cornstarch and rub all over chicken. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil. Place chicken left wing side up (it will be lying on the side) on a roasting rack and set over the pan. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes and flip over to other wing side. Roast for 15 more minutes.

Meanwhile, toss the potatoes in the oil and season with salt and pepper. When the chicken is done with its wing side roasting, remove the rack and add the potatoes to the pan, tossing them in any accumulated juices. Replace rack with chicken, now set breast side up, and put back in oven. Roast until the thigh registers 170°F on an instant-read thermometer (about 20 minutes). Remove chicken and let rest on rack (make sure to put a pan underneath to catch any juices). Roast potatoes for about 10-15 minutes more or until browned. Toss with any remaining chicken juices. Enjoy.


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