How To Perfectly Roast A Chicken

by Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet on July 17, 2010

Perfectly Roasted Chicken, www.goodfoodgourmet.comOne of the easiest and most delicious meals to prepare for your family and friends is a perfectly roasted chicken with all of the necessary sides, some of which might be a tray of roasted potatoes or fried or traditional potato salad. Roasting a chicken is something that everyone should know how to do effortlessly. The biggest problem is making sure you get enough flavor into the meat, so you find many people marinating it in all kinds of ways that may include buttermilk baths, heavily herbed vinaigrettes or flavorful brines. That’s all well and good if you have an extra day or so on your hands, but what do you do when you only have a few hours to put a delicious meal on the table?

The key to a perfect chicken starts with the best quality organic bird you can get your hands on — don’t let anyone tell you otherwise — this does make a big difference. A fresh, organic chicken is best if you can find it, but a frozen organic chicken will do.

I learned a long time ago that you can add so many wonderful herbs to flavor your chicken, but if you don’t add enough salt, the entire meal falls flat.  You might think that I am absolutely crazy for suggesting this, but let me tell you that it works like a charm. After I rinse my chicken well, I salt it — heavily. I then prepare my marinade of herbs in oil and spread it all over the chicken. To get a lovely flavor, I also use a lot of limes both the zest and the juice which not only adds a lovely fragrance and moisture, but also helps tenderize the meat.

The last thing I do to add flavor to my roasting bird is to caramelize some coarsely chopped carrots, onions and celery in a little olive oil and stuff it into the cavity before I seal it up. The juices, flavor and fragrance of the vegetables seeps into the meat creating a really lovely eating experience.

I like to add both lime zest and juice at all stages, and I find that this definitely rounds out the flavor, especially of the added salt. Before you know it, a beautiful and delicious dinner is on the table.

Perfectly Roasted Chicken
2-3# organic chicken, fresh if possible but thawed from frozen is OK if that is all you can find
3-4 tablespoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
twine ***optional

Perfectly Roasted Chicken, www.goodfoodgourmet.com


Marinade/Rub

½ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons sweet Spanish paprika
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
zest and juice of 1 large lime

Perfectly Roasted Chicken, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Perfectly Roasted Chicken, www.goodfoodgourmet.com


Basting Liquid
½ stick of salted butter, melted
zest and juice of 1 large lime

Perfectly Roasted Chicken, www.goodfoodgourmet.com


Sauteed Vegetables (to fill chicken)
1 large carrot, chopped **optional 2 additional carrots for bottom of pan
1 large celery stalks, chopped**optional 2 additional cut celery stalks for bottom of pan
1 small onion, sliced, **optional 1 additional sliced onion for bottom of pan
2 small dried bay leaves
zest and juice of 1 large lime
Rosemary sprigs, whole **optional
S&P

Perfectly Roasted Chicken, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Perfectly Roasted Chicken, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

NOTE: If you choose not to have your chicken sitting on a rack inside your roasting dish but rather directly on top of some roasting vegetables, you can add some additional vegetables (listed above) at the bottom of your roasting pan, along with a few whole cloves of garlic (still in sheaths) and even a few turnips if you like. If you prefer to do this, make sure to toss everything with 1/4 cup of olive oil and a good pinch of salt and pepper — that way you can also eat them after they have roasted in the pan with the juices. Place them at the bottom of the roasting dish and then nestle the chicken on top of them. Remove the juice if you like once the chicken is cooked, and serve the jus with the chicken or make a delicious gravy to serve alongside your meal.

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Wash the carrots and the celery stalks and cut into small chunks.  Peel and slice the onion and toss all of the vegetables into a saute pan with 1/4 cup of olive oil.  I usually toss in the livers and the gizzards that come with the bird and use it in stuffing , or cook it up for my furry children as a treat. Saute everything together until they have caramelized, then add the juice and zest of one lime, along with a good pinch of salt & pepper, toss in the bay leaves and cook for another minute or so until the juice has evaporated. Mix the vegetables well and set them aside. The vegetables placed inside the cavity are really added for extra flavor and not really for eating, so make sure to add some to the roasting pan if you would like to serve some with your meal.

Next, prepare the marinade and set that aside before you begin to prepare the chicken.

Mix the 3-4 tablespoons of salt and the 1/4 teaspoon black pepper together in a small bowl. Remove your chicken and place it onto a small plate or cutting board inside your sink. Rinse the surface of the chicken well, and remove any pieces of chicken liver, hearts, gizzards and neck from the inside the chicken, and rinse the cavity well also.

Remove any lingering quills that remain on the surface of the bird. make sure to check the wings especially.

Perfectly Roasted Chicken, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Trim off some of the unnecessary skin, especially if they are very large flaps around the opening of the cavity. Make sure NOT to cut too much, because you will make slits in these flaps to secure the legs later on.

Perfectly Roasted Chicken, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Place a small rack inside the roasting pan that you plan to use to cook the chicken. Pour the  salt/pepper mix all over the chicken — I usually about 3/4 of this amount on the outside of the bird and the remaining 1/4 inside the cavity.  Place the chicken on top of the rack, cover it with foil and set it aside for about 10 minute or so.

Perfectly Roasted Chicken, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Perfectly Roasted Chicken, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Tuck the wings under the bird and then seal the cavity by either tying the legs together with twine OR do what I do — cut slits in the 2 flaps of skin on either side of the cavity and push the legs through the slits. This will create a nice little package without the need for twine. As the fat is rendered from the skin of the bird, the legs close even more tightly, creating a steaming effect in the cavity, and allowing all of those great flavors to be absorbed throughout the meat.

Perfectly Roasted Chicken, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Perfectly Roasted Chicken, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Perfectly Roasted Chicken, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Take 1 tablespoon of the marinade and rub it inside the cavity. Make sure the marinade is evenly spread inside the cavity, then spoon in the sauteed vegetables. Rosemary and chicken go so well together, so if you would like to add some rosemary, place the whole sprig inside the cavity before spooning in the caramelized vegetables.

Perfectly Roasted Chicken, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Seal up the bird by putting each leg into the slit you have made in the flaps on opposite sides. The first leg should go in OK, but the 2nd one may be a little more challenging, but keep at it until you get the leg through.

Perfectly Roasted Chicken, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Perfectly Roasted Chicken, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Use the remaining marinade to spread evenly all over the bird, both top and bottom.

Perfectly Roasted Chicken, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Perfectly Roasted Chicken, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Cover the chicken with foil well, and place into a preheated 350°F oven for about 1 and 1/2 hours. Cook it covered this way for the entire time to ensure that it has completely cooked through BEFORE you begin basting. This part is very important.

Perfectly Roasted Chicken, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Once the required cooking time has passed, remove the foil and begin the basting process with the lime juice, zest and butter. This part will only take about 45 minutes or so, because we only want the bird to take on some color — the inside is all the way cooked through at this point. If there are drippings at the bottom of the pan, add some of those to the basting liquid.

Turn your oven up to 400°F, baste the bird and put it back in the oven uncovered. Remove it every 15 minutes or so and repeat this procedure. Make sure to rotate the pan to ensure that the chicken has taken on a nice, even golden brown color all over. The use of the foil early on and the basting at the end will help keep the meat (especially the breast) nice and moist.

Remove and place the chicken onto a serving dish. Check once more that the chicken has cooked through by making sure that any liquids at the bottom of the serving dish run clear. You can also check this by using a small knife and making a small cut into the groin area of each leg to ensure that the juice runs clear.  If they do not, cover the chicken with foil again, turn down your oven to 350°F and cook again for another 15 minutes or so. You really should not have to do this, but I just thought I would add that caveat if you are cooking an exceptionally large bird. When the chicken is cooked through, and you have basted the exterior and now have a lovely golden bird all the way around, remove the roasting pan from the oven, cover the bird with foil and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes before serving. The meat is perfectly tender and delicious.

Perfectly Roasted Chicken, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Make sure the juices from the chicken run clear…

Perfectly Roasted Chicken, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Perfectly Roasted Chicken, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

 

Print Friendly

Leave a Comment

Anti-Spam Quiz:

Previous post:

Next post: