June 25, 2008 · 1 Comment
For tonight’s dinner, I had roast chicken with leftover curried Christmas limas and sauteed kale. I’ll ignore the boring side dishes, and just focus on the chicken.
While there are countless techniques for roasting a chicken, the one thing to remember about roast chicken is that butter and salt are your best friends. A great roast chicken shouldn’t be diet food. I’ve found that more salt = crispier skin and more butter = moist meat. The other seasonings can vary, but don’t skimp on butter or salt.
I used a tiny 2 lb. chicken from Knoll Crest Farm that I bought at the Greenmarket this past weekend. Immediately when I came home from work, I pulled the chicken out of the fridge, washed it, and dried it thoroughly with paper towels. I then set the chicken aside on a platter and preheated the oven to 375 degrees.
Next, I went through my fridge and pantry to see how I would season the chicken. I pulled up some thyme and some garlic. A lemon would have been great, but alas, I did not have any lemon, so I made due with the thyme and garlic. I chopped up about a quarter cup of thyme leaves, minced two cloves of garlic, and threw the two into a bowel. I also set aside a few sprigs of thyme and two crushed garlic cloves.
I then pulled out the butter. I sliced off a healthy 1/4 stick and threw it into the bowl with the garlic and thyme. I then added a large dashes of salt and pepper to the bowl. I mixed the garlic, butter, thyme and s&p with my hands to make a thick paste. I rubbed the paste all over the chicken, sticking a few sizable chunks under the skin of the breast. Finally, I poured a waterfall of salt (yes, more salt) over the chicken. If you think you’ve poured on a lot of salt, keep pouring another second. Here’s how it all looked before I stuck it in the oven:
I assumed my small chicken would take no more than 45 minutes to cook in the 375 degree oven. However, after 45 minutes, the temperature on my thermometer read 150 degrees and the skin was not very brown. I pumped the oven up to 450 and stuck the chicken in for another 7 minutes or so, when the thermometer read 160 and the skin had browned slightly. I set the chicken on a platter for ten minutes. Meanwhile, I added a splash of white vinegar to the pan I had roasted the chicken in and stirred up all the browned bits at the pan. This step not only cleaned my skillet nicely, but it also made a nice pan sauce for my chicken. I poured the sauce over the resting chicken. The result was a tasty, non-diet roast chicken.