Do people even say that anymore? If not, I’m bringing it back as of right… now.
Seriously though, why do people assume it’s hard to roast a chicken? It’s probably one of the most simple, comforting foods to tackle (once you get past the cleaning of the raw bird, and tying him up that is.)
I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve that, until now, have remained ‘in the vault.’ I guess since you’re reading this you’ve earned my trust. But if you tell anyone else, you’ll have to eat your hat.
The first trick is to roast the bird in a cast iron skillet on super high heat. Skip the roasting pan, skip the roasting rack, skip the low and slow.
The second trick is to heavily salt the outside of the chicken, but that’s all. Resist the urge to pour melted butter on it. Resist the urge to pour juices of any kind over the top. The chicken doesn’t need a bath. It needs a salty, crispy, golden brown skin.
The third trick, and this one is a gem, is to roast the chicken on a bed of sliced bread topped with your aromatics. I know, sounds strange. Trust me, it’s not. Think about it… instead of the bottom of your bird sticking to a hot pan while all of the juices run out, pool and burn beneath it, the precious juice absorbs into the hot bread then recirculates through the lemon slices, thyme sprigs and garlic cloves… right back into the delicious meat.
The result? Perfectly seasoned, crispy skinned, yet juicy as all hell, roasted chicken. In just over an hour. Sha. Boo. Yah.
Simply Perfect Roasted Chicken
(1) 2 to 3 lb whole roasting chicken (neck & giblets removed)
2 tbsp kosher salt
2 slices of bread
3 cloves of garlic
2 – 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
4 tbsp unsalted butter (melted, for serving)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Slice the lemon and peel and smash the garlic cloves. Arrange your bread slices in the bottom of a large cast iron skillet or oven safe saute pan, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, then top with three lemon slices, half of the smashed garlic and the thyme sprigs.
To prepare the chicken for roasting, clean the outside and pat dry with a paper towel. Stuff the remaining lemon slices and smashed garlic into the cavity and toss in some salt. Use kitchen string to truss the legs and wings, then arrange it on top of the sliced bread bed.
Generously season the outside of the chicken with kosher salt. I’m talking, make it rain salt. Like a full tablespoon of it sprinkled evenly over the entire outside.
Roast the chicken in the preheated oven for 55 – 60 minutes, or until the juices run clear and the legs easily pull away from the breast. Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes or so before carving. Before serving, drizzle with melted butter. Yeah. Now’s the time to give the bird a butter bath.
This makes a perfect Sunday meal for the family, served alongside a spoonful of classic creamy mashed potatoes and steamed sweet corn.
Or even better, just stand at the stove by yourself and eat it with your hands. Caveman style. (Like I do.)