Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Best Roast Chicken Ever

Best Roast Chicken Ever

It was the Wednesday before payday, checking account balance was super low and I just wanted to make a dinner that would get me to Friday.  I decided to roast a chicken because whole chickens are usually on sale at my grocery store and the leftovers can be very versatile.  So I enlisted the help of one of my Instagram followers who always posts amazing looking roasted chicken.  He shared his rub recipe with me and then I turned to Julia Child for some roasting tips.  With both of their help, my chicken came out perfect and worthy of the title: “The Best Roast Chicken Ever.”

These ingredients totaled $21! Served the rice & asparagus on the side. Reeses for dessert!

There was no way I could keep the recipe for the “The Best Roast Chicken Ever” a secret.  However, I learned the hard way that roasting a chicken is a lengthy and involved process (not sure what I was thinking doing it on a weeknight) and I felt that, if I am going to share my process, I have to REALLY share it.  In other words, break it all the way down!  So that’s what I do below; I give you every ingredient, every spice (my IG follower may sue me), every trick, every technique.  It’s all there below so that you too can make “The Best Roast Chicken Ever."

To start you will need a whole raw chicken (mine was a little less than 5 lbs) and a hot oven. Begin by preheating your oven to 450 degrees.

"Clean" the Chicken
While holding the chicken over the sink, take it out of the wrapper, pour off excess liquid, remove the giblets and place the chicken on a plastic cutting board.  At this point, some suggest that you wash the chicken but I have heard so many chefs and food professionals say not to. They say that when you do, there are so many opportunities to spread bacteria around your kitchen. So I don't wash, I simply pat the chicken dry with paper towels and dispose them.  Then I allow the chicken to come to room temperature while preparing the other ingredients.

Prepare the "Stuffing" and Rub
For the stuffing you will need:
Rub on the left, aromatics for cavity on the right!
  • 1 head of garlic,
  • 1 carrot (I had baby carrots on hand and just used a few of those)
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1 lemon
  • 1-2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2-3 sprigs of parsley.  
Prep these items by slicing the top off the garlic, cutting the carrot and celery in thirds and cutting the lemon in half.  
Then, in a small bowl, mix together the rub:
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme (1 tbsp if using dried)
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika 
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon (couple pinches) cayenne pepper

Season the Chicken

Start on the inside by sprinkling a generous amount of the rub into the cavity of the chicken.  Then move to the outside and rub the rub (ha!) all over the chicken, being sure to get into all the nooks and crannies.  Lift the wings, the legs, and gently lift the skin to rub some seasoning directly on the breast (be careful not to rip the skin).

Now stuff the prepared items into the cavity. (celery, carrot, garlic, lemon, rosemary and parsley) 

Truss the Chicken
Ok this is the part where I let you down.  I definitely trussed this chicken but I cannot explain to you how I did it.  One thing I can say is that I once read that the goal of trussing is to bring all of the pieces as close to the middle or carcass of the chicken as possible.  If you look at a chicken that's not trussed, the legs and wings are hanging away from the middle, so you have to use the kitchen string to bring it all in. This is basically what I did and had beginner’s luck I guess.

Seasoned and trussed bird before the oven.
But if you really need instruction, I recommend you watch a trussing video on youtube (I actually watched one to learn how to carve) OR you can simply tie the legs together and wrap a string around the tail end of the chicken to tuck the wings in and tie it at the bottom.

Prepare Chicken for Roasting 
Ok before you roast the chicken, you have to figure out what you're going to roast it in.  Thanks to my roommate, I had a roasting pan with a rack.  If you don't have one, you can use a glass baking dish, or even a skillet (oven safe or cast-iron) but you have to find a way to keep the chicken from sitting on the bottom and roasting in it's own juices.  

Alot of people spread root vegetables on the bottom of the pan and set the chicken on top (it's a win because you can eat the vegetables).  Another option (that I saw a New York City chef do) is slice a crusty loaf of bread into 2 inch slices and place the chicken on top of those (and again, you can eat the bread).

Once your chicken is arranged in the center of your roasting pan or skillet, drizzle a generous amount of olive oil over the chicken, and on the bottom of the pan. 

Roast the Chicken
Now is the part where you throw the bird into the oven and I wish I could tell you that you can forget it, but in order for this bird to turn out good, you are going to go be busy for the next 90 minutes.

First, allow the chicken to roast at 450 degrees for 20 minutes, then, using a spoon, baste the chicken with the juices that have already began to gather in the pan.  Then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and roast the chicken for 1 hr and 10 mins more (70 mins), basting the chicken with it’s own juices until the last 15 minutes.  For the last basting round, use melted butter for extra golden and crispy skin.

After a full 90 minutes, the chicken should be done but you're looking for your meat thermometer to read 158-160 degrees when inserted into the thigh.  You'll also know it's done when all of the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh.

Let the Chicken Rest
Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest for at least 15-20 minutes or longer if you’re not serving immediately. 

Carve the Chicken
Like I said above, I learned to carve a chicken from this wonderful YouTube Video from the French Culinary Institute.  I don’t have the chef’s fork so I used another knife and even though it was a struggle, I got the pieces off the carcass and had a lovely platter of roast chicken ready to serve.

My birdy all carved up!

So that’s it! As a footnote, I have to shoutout one of the best chef’s on Instagram @chefpornardee for sharing the rub with me.  And even though this process wore me out, I realized the importance of every step and how they all contributed to The Best Roast Chicken ever.  For example, I always wondered: Why do you stuff the cavity with all the aromatics?? Well, when I was basting and saw the juices coming out of the cavity, I realized they were being flavored by the carrots, celery, lemon, garlic on the way out.  THEN, when basting, I was pouring those same juices back over the chicken and I knew that it was all an amazing process that ends in The Best Roast Chicken Ever.  

Not sure who we have to thank for this technique (probably the French) but I hope you all give it a try.  Do it the next time you have company! Your whole place will smell amazing and the platter of carved chicken definitely has that wow factor.

No comments:

Post a Comment