Roasted Chicken is a menu classic, and done correctly, it’s a Sunday-style meal that will continue to nourish all week. Serve it up with a side salad or cooked grains and you’ll be reinventing a menu for the next few days. I keep salad greens on hand for an easy and quick salad. Suddenly a weekday dinner of crispy chicken and a salad of walnuts, goat cheese, apple, balsamic and olive oil is on the table in ten minutes.
I like to cook on Sundays, and for a lot of people, it’s the only opportunity they’ll have to roast something that takes a little time commitment. It’s the meal that keeps on giving because after you’ve picked all that meat from the bone, you can make chicken stock with the carcass. Don’t get freaked out, because it’s almost easier than cooking the chicken, which is already a breeze. Stay tuned for stock recipe…
Regarding chicken: Try to buy organic, free range and humanly raised meat from a purveyor who knows their stuff. If you’re going to eat meat, it’s really important to put your money into the hands of the people who are supporting the world in local, thoughtful ways, from smaller farms. The flavor of the chicken is noticeably better, a hearty, earthy bird that actually tastes like chicken. Although it’s more expensive, you can amp up the vegetables to extend your dollar further. In a capitalist climate, the most important thing you can do as a participating member, is pay attention to where and how you spend your money. It’s like placing a vote for how you think animals should be treated, how purveyors should act, and how much should be produced. At the end of the day, it’s all about numbers and profit, love it or hate it. Spend thoughtfully because the numbers don’t lie.
Serves 4-5 (with side dish or salad)
1 whole chicken (they are usually between 3 and 4 pounds)
2 celery stocks
2 potatoes (I like Russet or 1/2 Lb of Fingerlings)
1 fennel bulb (use only the white bulb portion, stocks reserved)
freshly ground pepper
Kosher or sea salt
~1/4 cup olive oil
1) Preheat oven to 450*F. Line a 9″x11″ roasting pan with foil or parchment paper.
2) Wash and chop vegetables into larger bite-sized pieces (think 1 1/2 inches). Put all the vegetable in the pan and season lightly with salt/pepper. I don’t add extra oil because cooking the chicken on a bed of veggies will produce moisture, fat and flavor.
3) Minimize your raw chicken exposure by prepping right in the vegetable pan, just be careful to keep your seasonings to the chicken and not over season the veggies. Pour the olive oil onto the chicken, massaging it into the flesh and under the skin as best you can; then season liberally with salt and pepper. Squeeze the lemon on the chicken and stuff rinds inside the chicken cavity, leaving about half a lemon to roast with the vegetables.
4) Place breast side down on top of the vegetables.
4) Cook uncoved for 40 minutes, with oven unopened. After 40 minutes, use tongs to carefully turn the chicken over, breast side up, cooking for an additional 20 minutes. Depending on how big the bird is, you may need to add 5 minute increments to your cooking time. Temp the chicken in the thickest part of the breast, the thermometer should read 165*F at finish. Using tongs, squeeze the roasted lemon on the chicken and vegetable then cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.