Roast Chicken and Big Health News
type: Entree
author: Judy Rogers
prep time: 30 mins
cook time: 1 hour
total time: 1 hour 30 mins
serves: 2-4
I did not have time to let the chicken season overnight, and it was just as delicious as it is when I let it sit for a day or two. I also added a lemon and a few cloves of garlic to the inside of the bird to give it a brighter flavor.
  1. (One day ahead) Remove and discard the lump of fat inside the chicken. Rinse the chicken and pat very dry inside and out. Approaching from the edge of the cavity, slide a finger under the skin of each of the breasts, making 2 little pockets. Now use the tip of your finger to gently loosen a pocket of skin on the outside of the thickest section of each thigh. Using your finger, shove an herb sprig into each of the 4 pockets.
  2. Season the chicken liberally all over with salt and pepper. Sprinkle a little of the salt just inside the cavity, on the backbone, but don’t otherwise worry about seasoning the inside. Twist and tuck the wing tips behind the shoulders. Place lemon and garlic cloves inside the cavity. Cover loosely and refrigerate.
  3. Preheat the oven to 475. Depending on the size, efficiency and accuracy of your oven, and the size of your bird, you may need to adjust the heat to as high as 500 or as low as 450 during the course of roasting the chicken to get it to brown properly. If you have an oven thermometer, use it. I know my oven runs 20 degrees hot, but I have the thermometer in there to double check every time.
  4. Choose a shallow flameproof roasting pan or dish barely larger than the chicken, or use a 10-inch skillet with an all-metal handle. I used my 10-inch cast-iron skillet. Preheat the pan over medium heat. Wipe the chicken dry and set it breast side up in the pan. The legs should be raised in the air, opposite of how you usually see a chicken on a platter. It should sizzle.
  5. Place the bird in the center of the oven and listen and watch for it to start browning within 20 minutes. If it doesn’t, raise the temperature progressively until it does. The skin should blister, but if the chicken begins to char, or the fat is smoking, reduce temperature by 25 degrees. If you are me, and you live in a small NYC apartment with a 20-year-old oven, your smoke alarm will go off. I had to open all the windows and door to my apartment to get it off and had many neighbors peeking in to see what was cooking!
  6. After about 30 minutes, turn the bird over — drying the bird and preheating the pan should keep the skin from sticking. Roast for another 10 to 20 minutes, depending on size, then flip back over to recrisp the breast skin, another 5 to 10 minutes. Total oven time will be 45 minutes to an hour.
  7. Lift the chicken from the roasting pan and set on a plate. Carefully pour the clear fat into a heatproof container, leaving the lean drippings behind in the pan. Add about a tablespoon of water to the hot pan and swirl it.
  8. Slash the stretched skin between the thighs and breasts of the chicken, then tilt the bird and plate over the roasting pan to drain the juice into the drippings.
  9. Set the chicken in a warm spot and leave to rest while you finish preparing the rest of your meal. The meat will become more tender and uniformly succulent as it cools.
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