Well, you know all about roasting now, whether you want to cook vegetables or meat. Now, as promised, here are the instructions for making my “Perfect” roasted chicken! Your family will love you even more than they already do, I promise!
Jen’s Perfect Roast Chicken
1 (5 to 6 pound) fresh Roasting Chicken (may be called a “roaster/broiler”)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh Rosemary (or Thyme, or Italian Parsley, whatever you prefer–I used Italian Parsley & Chives because that’s what I grew this year)
2 lemons, quartered
2 onions, quartered
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
4 tablespoons unsalted (1/2 stick) softened butter (Or you can use I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, your choice–both work fine)
***NOTE: If you’ve never tried it, Adobo is a Latin combination seasoning that has salt, pepper, garlic all combined and you can get it with or without oregano. I use this often as a 1-spice fits all for savory dishes.***
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Take the giblets out of the chicken and wash the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry with clean paper towels. Place 1 of the quartered onions in the bottom of a large roasting pan to serve as a “rack” for the chicken. Lay the chicken, breast side up, on top of the onion.
In a small bowl, combine the butter, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and stir to blend well. Remove any rings, watches, or bracelets you might be wearing prior to this next step, you will thank me later. Wash your hands if you didn’t already, now comes the “play with your food” portion of the program!
Run your index finger gently between the skin and flesh of the breast to loosen the skin covering the breast of the chicken on both sides. Working carefully, divide 4 tablespoons of the butter evenly between the skin and the flesh on the 2 sides of the breast, spreading it evenly over the breast halves.
Rub the remaining butter evenly over the outside of the chicken, and season the chicken well inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the herbs, lemon, 2nd onion, and the garlic. After handling raw poultry, always remember to wash your hands well with hot, soapy water.
Buttered, Stuffed, & Ready for the oven!
Cover the chicken loosely with aluminum foil and place in a 400 degree oven for 45-55 minutes. Remove the foil and set aside to re-use when the chicken is done. Baste the chicken with the pan drippings, coating the whole top of the bird so the skin will brown and crisp. Return the chicken to the oven for another 20 to 30 minutes until the skin is golden brown.
The recommended cooking time for a whole chicken at 400 degrees is 22 minutes per pound. My oven is brand new, natural gas, and cooks pretty fast, so an hour and 15 minutes worked perfect for me. Since cooking times vary depending on your oven and the altitude, check for doneness now before you turn your oven off.
The “old wive’s method” is to take one of the drumsticks by the bony end and jiggle it, if it moves loosely at the joint, it is done. You can also insert an instant-read meat thermometer in the deepest part of the thigh, it should read 160 degrees. The third option is to cut into the leg and thigh joint, the juices should run clear.
Remember, it has retained the heat from the oven, so if it is really close to 160 degrees (like 155), don’t cook it any longer. It will continue to cook with the heat retained, this is known as “carryover cooking.” Allow it an additional 10 minutes of covered resting time (30 minutes total) and re-check the temperature before you slice it.
If the chicken is not done (juices are still bloody or it’s less than 155 degrees), re-cover it with foil so the skin doesn’t over brown and return it to the oven at 400 for another 10 or 15 minutes, then check it again. When it is done, remove it from the oven, re-cover the bird with foil and let it rest on the counter for 20 minutes before serving. This allows the juices time to re-distribute before slicing.
The easiest way to carve the chicken is to cut the drumsticks & wings off, then remove the thighs at the joint. Slice the breast right along the bone on each side and remove it as a whole piece from each side, then cut it crossways so everyone can get a piece of breast meat.
Store leftovers in a plastic storage container, be sure to drizzle some of the pan drippings over the meat to keep it moist in the fridge. Here’s how I enjoyed some of my leftovers today, on a Pop-rice with Amish Sundried Tomato Cream Cheese! NOM!!
Pop Rice topped with Sundried Tomato Spread & Leftover Roast Chicken