|Do you see the neck roasting near the chicken? That, my friend, is true 'meat candy,' better than any bacon.|
I've been eating meat regularly for slightly less than a year, and I've just realized that I already have a go-to roast chicken. I use the 450F high-heat Thomas Keller method, as I've mentioned before on this blog, with some new (mostly lazy) modifications.
They say that roast chicken is the ultimate test of every cook. I know some very accomplished cooks (I'm not counting myself in that number) and all of them have a different method of roasting chicken that they swear by.
I'm not a briner, but I am a salter. I think because the dark meat and the skin are my favorite parts, I'm not that paranoid about over-cooking the bird. All I care about is the crispy skin. The more crispy and crackly the better.
I don't wash the chicken, I just try to make sure that it is as dry as possible before going in the oven.
I don't bother to truss, although I do stuff the cavity with fresh thyme and rosemary and I stick a few sprigs in the armpits beneath the wings. Then I season it, usually with paprika and dried mustard. Some ancho if I'm in the mood.
I roast the chicken (usually I get a 4-5 pound chicken) in a covered roasting pan for longer than Keller suggests. Keller roasts his uncovered,but then again, Keller doesn't have to clean my oven or deal with my smoke alarm. Also, the covered method seems to keep the chicken juicy while still allowing the skin to crisp up. I'm one of those people who thinks it is well nigh impossible to overcook poultry with bones and skin (anemic skinless chicken breasts are another story, but I never use them). I've cooked a bird up to 1 hour 45 minutes at high heat and not have the faster-cooking white meat dry out, at least not to my taste.
I really put this post out more as a question: what is your 'go-to' roast chicken recipe, and what 'rules' do you ALWAYS violate when cooking...chicken...or something else...
My Roast Chicken
1 4-5 pound chicken, giblets removed (I always roast the neck with the bird)
Coarse sea salt
Fresh sprigs of thyme and rosemary
Paprika, dried mustard, ancho chili powder
1. Preheat oven to 450F. Line covered pan with foil. Pat dry and heavily salt chicken.
2. Stuff chicken cavity with fresh thyme and rosemary. Put some sprigs under the skin and under the wings.
3. Season as desired. Roast until chicken has an internal temperature of at least 165F degrees or until desired doneness.