Simple Roast Chicken

by Anne Bennett on July 9, 2010

Why don’t more people roast chicken at home? Is it because plastic-wrapped, rotisseried (and overdone) birds are readily available at the supermarket? Or is it because we’re all so very busy, running around like chickens with our heads cut off? It may be a combination of both, plus the fact that many of us never learned the basics of cooking, which, while too bad, is not irreparable.

Costco sells what many people consider to be the perfect roast chicken. But when I checked the sodium count for their tasty bird, I found it to have an astonishing 460 mg. of sodium for a mere three ounces of meat.┬áThat’s Costco value for you–you buy a chicken and they toss in the salt lick for free.

Look, even if you don’t claim to be a cook, it’s not difficult to roast a chicken at home. All it takes is a good chicken (I buy free-range), some herbs if you have them, a lemon and olive oil and some balsamic vinegar to splash on at the end.

1 3-to-3 1/2 lb. chicken
1 lemon
1 onion, chopped coarsely
2 carrots, chopped coarsely
fresh herbs (I cut a combination of thyme, rosemary and sage, but you can use any or all of these)
olive oil
salt and pepper
balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Dry chicken thoroughly and salt liberally inside and out. I use a tablespoon of kosher salt, which sounds like a lot but isn’t. Also sprinkle with black pepper. Cut a lemon in half and stuff it inside the along with the fresh herbs. Tie its legs together to keep everything inside. Lightly coat with olive oil (you can spray it on with an olive oil sprayer) and place atop chopped vegetables in a pan just large enough to hold the bird.

Place 1/4 cup of water in the bottom of the pan and place it into the oven. Roast for about 55 to 60 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer reads 160 degrees when placed into the breast or 165-170 degrees in the thigh. (If you’re roasting a bigger bird, from 4 to 4 1/2 lbs., it will take about 60 to 65 minutes.) If you don’t have an instant-read thermometer, the juices from the leg should run clear when pierced. Just try not to overcook it; if it’s dry, overcooked chicken you want, buy it at the supermarket.

Remove from the oven and baste all over with balsamic vinegar. This gives the bird a beautiful brown color and lots of wonderful flavor. Cover with foil and allow to rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

Slice and serve with more balsamic vinegar. You can also squeeze on the lemon from inside its tummy if you like lemony chicken.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Camille McGinnis November 1, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Have you ever been successful cooking a chicken in crock pot? If so, what was your secret?

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