Although I started learning how to cook almost two years ago, roasting a whole chicken hasn’t really been on my to-do list. I mean, hey, I can go to the local grocery store and buy a fully cooked chicken for under $10 so why would I bother?
Okay and I’ll admit there was also a bit of trepidation that kept me from trying. “Cook a chicken? A whole chicken? No idea how to even begin such a thing! Grocery store is it!”
One day I started reading “The Kitchen Counter Cooking School” and the section on cooking chicken got me thinking, “You know, maybe I could do this whole bird-in-the-oven thing after all!” (This isn’t a blog entry to advertise for that book…but I will say it is an awesome read! Kathleen Flinn makes cooking sound do-able and fun. Not overly complicated and intimidating.)
Click here for the recipe or scroll to the bottom of the post.
Anyway, so I made the decision to cook a chicken!
I went out to a local meat counter and decided to forgo the wet, drippy chicken at the local supermarket for a 4lb dry, almost tacky, naturally raised chicken at the butcher’s.
REGARDLESS of the ethical choice I made to pay a little extra for a lovely, naturally raised bird…and regardless of the fact that the guy behind the counter was both cute and incredibly encouraging….it was still a little intimidating!
Such a little thing, but still scary!
At this point, before I scare you off completely, I’ll use a bit of foreshadowing to say that the Chicken Saga ends well. Here’s a picture to prove it!
That is complete ecstatic roasted chicken joy on my face! Really. It is. (Besides, it’s hard to take pictures of yourself. So there.)
You were expecting a picture of the finished chicken?? That comes later!
In her book, Kathleen Flinn has all her students create a rub or a paste for their chickens based on their taste preferences and what they thought would go well together. I decided to follow that example and do the same.
I wouldn’t have thought it would be so difficult but, there I am, smelling ingredients, trying to place whether this goes with that. Asking Ben, texting another friend for advice until I had to just suck it up and decide…what would make a good paste?
In the end I went with a mixture of butter (rather than oil), very finely grated parmesan cheese, dried thyme, minced garlic, a small dash of lemon juice, along with salt & pepper. I made it up as I went along. Unfortunately for the recipe below, that means that I don’t really have any measurements for the ingredients. My goal was to make a seasoning paste so I kept adding bits and pieces until it seemed right. The butter was the largest ingredient as I used it instead of using oil. As you can see by the picture, I ended up with 1-2 tablespoons of seasoning and this turned out to be enough.
Pre-heated the oven to 425…..
And next up, actually handling the chicken!
I teased away the skin from the actual chicken breast to create space for my seasoning. This was a weird manoeuvre and I started very lightly, as I didn’t want to tear the skin. Turns out, chicken skin is pretty stretchy and resilient so don’t hesitate…tease that skin!
Next up, stuff the skin. Almost like a taxidermist…but not.
I layered the seasoning between the skin and meat, then I rubbed down the outside with a mixture of salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, tied the legs (Awkward!) and placed it on top of the chopped vegetables.
Into the oven for 30 minutes, uncovered. Initially, I was unsure whether it should be covered or not. I figured covering it would keep in the moisture but upon googling Roast Chicken, I found so many websites that said NOT to…so I didn’t.
At 30 minutes, I pulled it out for basting.
I didn’t have enough juice at the bottom of the roasting pan so instead, I cut a square of butter (probably close to a tablespoon), rubbed it all over the chicken and returned it to the oven for another 30 minutes.
Half an hour later, I pulled a beautifully golden bird out of the oven. It was perfect! The meat was tender and juicy, the smell of garlic and parmesan filled the air, even the vegetables were delicious!
Roasting a chicken…truly not as scary and complicated as I had imagined.
Next up, a 20 lb turkey!
Okay….maaaaaybe not. Yet.
- 4 lb chicken
- parmesan cheese
- thyme, dry
- garlic, minced as well as two extra cloves
- lemon juice
- cayenne pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 425.
- Chop the celery, onion and carrot into big chunks and place them in a layer on the bottom of your baking dish.
- Mix parmesan cheese, butter, pepper, salt, thyme, garlic and lemon juice in a bowl until you have a paste.
- Tease the skin away from the chicken breast to create a space, which is where you rub in the seasoning mixture. Also, feel free to put some of the mixture inside the chicken along with the two garlic cloves.
- Mix some cayenne pepper, pepper and a salt in a bowl and rub the mixture all over the outside of the chicken.
- Place the chicken on the vegetables and tie the legs together.
- Cook in oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove and baste with either the juices from the bottom of the dish or with an extra dollop of butter.
- Return to the oven for another 30 minutes.
- Remove it and check to see that the meat is cooked. I used a meat thermometer and check the thigh for a temperature of 180.
- Finally, let sit for a few minutes, carve and serve!