There are so many pieces written about how to Roast a Chicken and get it right. I’ve done a lot of things but this method gets me the most flavorful and juicy chicken I’ve ever made.
A few tips to start with….
• Use a good Roasting Pan – I got one from a local Restaurant Supply House – most offer retail as well as wholesale. It’s amazing how good the items are and how low priced. They are meant to take a beating after all. I got mine for something close to $10.
• Instead of using a rack – which can be next to impossible to clean – I like to put vegetables. Saves cleaning and is oh so delicious. I call them “Chicken Fried Vegetables.”
• If you use a 400º oven the chicken, believe it or not, will cook in an hour and a half and be juicy and crispy.
• Do not baste! This is a pet peeve of mine. What this does is bring the oven temperature and thus the temperature of the Chicken down, extending the Roasting time. I think that this will actually dry the Chicken out. It’s simply not worth it.
• The best herbs to use with Chicken are Tarragon and Sage – depending on the mood or you can use both together. It’s like they were made for Chicken. I don’t use Tarragon anywhere else. I use Fresh Tarragon for the Cavity and Dried Powdered Tarragon for the Rub.
• Take that plastic thing out that supposedly tells you whether the chicken is done or not. It’s not reliable and I just don’t like it. Get yourself a meat thermometer and when the chicken comes out it should be 140º.
• Tent the Chicken with Foil when it comes out of the oven and leave it for 20 minutes. This will ensure that the juice stays inside the chicken and not all over your counter when you are carving it.
• Use a Rub. I go into what exactly a rub is in my last post about Salt. I like to use Tarragon and Sage that I’ve put in my spice grinder. I also use Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Paprika, Mustard Powder and Black Pepper. I then give the whole Chicken a massage with it.
• Put the Chicken with the backbone facing downward and the breasts facing upward. This should be a given but there are so many schools of thought on this. I prefer it this way.
• Fold the Wings under the Chicken to ensure even cooking
• Tie the Drumsticks or put a pin through the flesh around the cavity opening to be sure the Lemon, Herbs, and Garlic don’t fall out.
My Perfect Roast Chicken
1 large Roaster Chicken (make sure you don’t get a tiny soup chicken)
2 or 3 large Vidalia or Spanish Onions – Sliced into 1/4″ Slices.
4 packages of Grape Tomatoes
4 packages of White Button Mushrooms
1 Bunch Fresh Tarragon
3 Whole Garlic Cloves peeled
1 Lemon cut into quarters
1 Tablespoon Salt
A Combination of spices and ground herbs – adjusted to your liking and mixed with the Salt to make a Rub. (See above for Suggestions)
1. Preheat the oven to 400º
2. Prepare the Chicken by removing excess fat, feathers (yes there are sometimes one or two feathers left usually near the drumsticks), and cutting off the tips of the wings.
3. Line the bottom of a Roasting Pan with the Onion Slices, then the Mushroom Caps and then the Grape Tomatoes.
4. Sit the Chicken on top of the Vegetables and put Lemon, Garlic and Fresh Tarragon into the cavity.
5. Apply the Rub to the chicken making sure to coat every surface evenly. Don’t forget the cavities behind the drumsticks and the wings. Coat the bottom of the Chicken too.
6. Put in the oven and Roast for 1 1/2 hours. Check the Temperature and continue Roasting if it’s not 140º. If it’s finished use Aluminum Foil to create a tent over the chicken in the pan and leave it for 20 minutes. Carve and Enjoy.
The Best Gravy
3 Cups Chicken Stock
1 Cup White Wine
2 Packages White Button Mushrooms Sliced thinly
1 Tablespoon Corn Starch or Flour
1. Remove the Chicken and Vegetables from the Roasting Pan. Leave the juices and bits and put the Pan on top of two burners on the stove, turn them on high and pour the Chicken Stock and Wine into the pan.
2. Use a Wooden Spoon to scrape back and forth in the pan so that you get the bits up. The wine will deglaze the pan and so will the stock.
3. Add the Mushrooms
4. Make a Roux with the Cornstarch or Flour, adding a little of the liquid from the pan at a time. Mix it until the consistency is the same as the liquid in the pan. (A Bar Whisk is the best for this because it’s tiny and ensures that there will be no lumps).
5. Pour the Roux into the pan and continue cooking and scraping until the Gravy thickens to your liking.
6. Put into a Gravy Boat or Pitcher and serve.