There's simply nothing like a tender, juicy roast chicken.
All you need is a side of mashed potatoes or a nice salad to make the ultimate home-cooked meal. Here's how to tailor the basic recipe for a classic roast chicken to make your own delicious version with fantastic results every time.
Brined is best.
Before you panic, you should know that most commercial chickens have been treated with some sort of brine during processing and you probably just never noticed it before. Unless you look for one that is specifically left plain, you'll see on the label if your bird has been soaked in a flavored saltwater solution. If it is, this just means you have a built-in safety net and you should go lighter on the salt.
Make a compound butter.
All you have to do to elevate your chicken game is to soften half a stick of unsalted butter and add a mix of dry spices. If your chicken is not brined, it's okay to use salted butter. Go for aromatic flavors like garlic, smoked paprika, black pepper, and tarragon. If you have fresh herbs, chop them up very fine before adding them to the mixture.
Mash your seasoning in well with a fork, and slater it under (yes, under) the skin. Reserve a couple of pats to rub on top of the skin, and you'll be amazed at how well this imparts a punch of flavor on the final product. If you want to be really extra, reserve some to slather on top of freshly warmed dinner rolls. Heaven!
Go heavy on the veggies.
Celery stalks serve as a great impromptu rack to keep your bird off the bottom of the pan. Toss in a bunch of baby carrots and chopped parsnips for an instant side dish. You can even stuff the cavity of your chicken with large chunks of onion, lemon, carrots, or celery to keep everything moist as it cooks.
In a 350-degree oven, you should roast your chicken for 20 minutes per pound, then add another 15 minutes for good measure. For crispier skin, you can bump up the temperature to 400 for the last 20 minutes, and omit the final 15 minutes you would have added at a lower temperature.
Once it's done, check the thickest part of the thigh with a meat thermometer (you're shooting for a minimum of 165 degrees) and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
Perfect the art of carving.
The easiest way to make a professional-looking presentation is to carefully cut off the drumsticks and the wings. Cut down the center of the back and gently pull off the two halves of the chicken breast. Cut them into large, thick slices and fan them out on your platter. Flip the bird over and remove the thighs or pick the dark meat off in large pieces. Drizzle some of the juices from the bottom of the roasting pan to keep everything moist.
**All Photos by Sarina Petrocelly
Before you know it, you'll be known far and wide for your amazing roast chicken if you follow these steps.
For more delicious recipes like this one, check here.
Do you have a favorite tip for creating this crowd-pleasing meal? Share it with us in the comments.