There was a time in which I was vegetarian. Then vegan for a minute. Then, I traveled to Brazil, and broke my vegetarian-dome with some delicious pulled beef sandwiches at a festa Junina celebration. It was…delicious. Soon after arriving back home, I was craving a classic roasted chicken. Totally normal!
I understand that being a responsible human involves not eating copious amounts of meat, but let me assume that you are a reasonable human, and understand the desire for a perfectly roasted chicken a few times each year.
I love this method for roasted chicken because it is fool-proof and simple. It uses a piece of basic kitchen equipment (a cast iron Dutch or French oven, or a similar heavyweight pan), basic ingredients (salt, pepper, olive oil; optional are any additional spices or aromatics, like lemon, rosemary; a good-quality fresh whole chicken), and little hands-on time. Bonus: you get a carcass after carving, so chicken stock is also a by-product!
The particular bird we roasted and enjoyed above was rubbed with olive oil, salt, pepper and a Persian lime curry spice mixture from Oaktown Spice shop. It was fantastic, but simple salt, pepper and olive oil are also delicious. Nothing wrong with the basics!
Serve the bird with rice, and veggies or just a simple salad. Bread is always welcome to mop-up juices. Leftovers make delicious sandwiches, salads and soups. But, I don’t need to tell you this. It is perfect for a Sunday dinner, but also a mid-week dinner – it’s that simple!
I hope you enjoy and customize the recipe (more a guide) for roasted chicken below. I think for those of us without a grill this summer, a BBQ version would be amazing. Bon Apetite!
A Perfect Roast Chicken
- 1 3 to 5 pound whole chicken, giblets removed if included
- 3 TB Olive Oil Olive oil (any will do, I usually use organic extra virgin)
- 3-5 tsp sea salt I use fine sea salt, so adjust to more if you use a coarser one
- 3-5 tsp pepper freshly ground is best here, and I use a blend of white, black and pink
- lemon, cut in wedges; fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, parsley, tarragon; dried herbs or spice blends like curry powder, baharat, ras al hanout, paprika, etc.
- Preheat oven to 425F with a rack in the center in the oven.
- Heat a heavy bottomed pan, like a cast iron durch or French oven, with 1 TB of the oil, over medium-high heat. You want it to be hot enough to sear the chicken breast. Place oil in pan before heating it, and if it starts to smoke, remove pan from heat to cool it down a touch. Place back on lower heat.
- As the pan heats up, prep the chicken by rinsing it and patting it dry. Place on a plate.
- Rub remaining oil (you can eyeball it, the goal is a thin coat over the whole bird), salt and pepper over and inside in the bird. If I am alone, I make a salt-spice paste with the oil in a bowl and rub this all over the bird. You can also have someone help you with this step so you don’t goober your oil and spice containers.
- If using lemon wedges (or other aromatics, like wedges of apple or onion), add to chicken cavity now.
- Sear chicken breast side down for 5 minutes. The breast should sizzle strongly once in the hot oil, but not spatter all over. Turn down or up heat accordingly.
- After 5 minutes, place bird uncovered in oven.
- Roast for 50 minutes and check the temp or juices: between the body and the thigh, the temperature should be 165F or very close (carry over cooking will raise it by a few degrees), or check juices by cutting this area with knife. Juices should run clear.
- Cool for 10 minutes longer as needed. Allow bird to rest, either covered if you need a few more degrees to carry-over cook, or uncovered if you’ve reached doneness.
- Allow bird to rest ideally for 10-15 minutes. Carve on a large carving or cutting board, making sure to catch juices. I like to carve all at one time, and serve on a platter.
- Leftovers will keep, covered, in the fridge for up to 1 week.