In this instructable I'll give you the basic formula, and some ideas to turn a simple roast chicken into something magnificent! :D
(Also, I apologize for the terrible pictures. Late night cooking as usual - blame my retail career!)
Step 1: Ingredients.
Butter or olive oil for a chicken massage.
Aromatics - onion, garlic, lemon, herbs, celery, apples, etc.
Salt and pepper!
A large roasting pan. (With or without a rack is fine!)
Spices are optional, but very good.
Butcher's twine or something similar for trussing the bird.
Veggies for the roasting pan.
A 425 degree oven.
For this particular chicken, I'm doing onion, garlic, ginger and lemon in the bird and potatoes, lemon, carrots, and onion in the roasting pan. I'm using salt, pepper and 5 spice powder for the massage. :)
Step 2: Preheat Your Oven and Get Your Bird Prepped.
Clean your sink and set the bird in it. Most times they come in a bag, so just slit the bag open in the sink - there will be a lot of liquid. Check the bird's cavity and pull out the little bag that hold the giblets. You can throw this away or keep it for stock!
You'll notice there's a lot of blood pooling in the cavity. Rinse the bird off thoroughly, inside and out.
If there's a lot of extra fat around the neck or butt, trim that off.
Get rid of any extra feathers - this particular chicken had a ton on the limbs. Just pinch the feathers and pull away from the skin. They should come out pretty easy. :D
Once the chicken is all clean, dry it off thoroughly with paper towels and transfer to the roasting pan, breast side up.
Step 3: Decide What Will Go Inside the Bird.
Here are some nice combinations:
- apple, onion and a cinnamon stick
- onion, celery and rosemary
- an onion pricked with cloves and lemon
- lemon, apple and celery
- garlic and lemon
- garlic, ginger, onion and lemon
You can really use anything that has a strong, pleasant smell - it'll make the whole house smell wonderful and flavor the chicken in a really lovely way. I like to think they also help keep the chicken moist! :)
My personal favorite is lemon and garlic, but this time I added ginger and onion to the mix!
All you need to do is cut everything up into large pieces (just smash the garlic with your knife) and stuff it into the cavity. Don't worry about onion or garlic skins - you won't be eating this part!
Step 4: Would You Like Roast Veggies With That?
- sweet potatoes
- whole cloves of garlic, skins on
Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on them to get them going, but not too much. The chicken will be dripping fat onto them as well so you don't want to go overboard.
Salt and pepper them and throw them around the chicken.
Step 5: Truss the Bird and Begin the Massage.
(I'm going to go ahead and admit I didn't have any twine, so I used upholstery thread. Works just as well!)
Season liberally with salt and pepper, and any dried spice or herb that you like. Don't be stingy with the seasonings! Use more than you think you need to. :D
Then, pour a bit of olive oil in your hand (or get a dab of butter) and rub the chicken all over. Get into all the nooks and crannies - give it the best massage it's ever had!
Step 6: Cooking and Finishing the Chicken!
Then, take out and mix the vegetables around so they don't get burnt. If you're using a rack, take the rack out and place it on a cutting board with the chicken in it while you mix. Much easier! The chicken should be slightly browned at this point and looking pretty tasty!
Put in the oven for another 45 minutes, and then it's going to rest for a bit! I typically just pull the pan out of the oven and cover it with foil. I am too lazy to do much more. :D
If you'd like to check for doneness, prick the chicken under the "drumstick" in the thigh. If the juices run clear, you should be good to go! If not, give it another 15 minutes.
Rest for a least 10 minutes and then cut and serve. Hooray!
(You can also heat the pan up over the burners once the chicken and veggies are out and make yourself a gravy with a little butter and flour and stirring, but I'll admit to never doing this. I am often far too hungry at that point.)
(Also, save the carcass to make stock!!! My Sisters Kitchen has an excellent instuctable up for it!)