An awesome recipe for the perfect roast chicken is like money in the bank.
You’ve had that chicken at some point in your life that was epic in all the ways roast chicken should be epic.
Moist on the inside.
Crispy on the outside.
Flavour explosions with every mouthful!!
The problem is that you might think it’s way too hard. Or there is some crazy secret that nobody is willing to part with. Lucky for you, both of those things are not true.
I’m actually going to break this recipe down into three components…
- Crazy Easy Peasy
- A Wee Bit More Work/Time
- One More Step to The Moistest Chicken Ever
Each recipe begins with a plain ol’ chicken. Depending on your budget, you decide what you’ll use. Organic with a more yellow skin is always good, but you choose!
I like to put the chicken on a bed of veggies because, not only do they add flavour to the chicken dish, it does double duty because you can either puree them and use it as a gravy or puree them, add chicken stock and then make it into a soup like this (change the veggies to suit your taste!!). If you like it a bit smokey, add some bacon either across the breast (it will keep it extra moist…I do this with my turkeys) or chop it up and add it to the veggies underneath. I really liked the flavour it gave the veggies in this bacon wrapped chicken dish!
Here is a breakdown of the recipes:
Crazy Easy Peasy
– Just use the recipe below as is. It will give you a wonderfully moist chicken and there is hardly any work (the oven does most of it!).
A Wee Bit More Work/Time
– The difference here is time. This steps means you have to think about your dinner the night before or sooner. But, honestly, it’s one tiny step and then the fridge does the work. After you rinse the chicken, rub two tablespoons of salt liberally into the cavity and outside of the chicken, place it in a freezer bag and leave it in the fridge overnight (remember always to return meat to room temperature before cooking it). If you want an explanation, the Cooking Channel explains it best: “Though many cookbooks rightly warn you never salt meat or poultry right before you put it in the oven– because the salt will draw out the juices and make it dry and tough–the opposite occurs when you salt well in advance of cooking. It all has to do with the behavior of proteins and cell osmosis. At first, the salt draws moisture out of the cells, but a few hours later, the cells reabsorb the salty water in a kind of reverse osmosis, drawing back both moisture and flavor. I allow one day for a thick-ish steak, two days for a whole chicken, and three or four days for a large cut of meat, like a brisket or a turkey.”
One More Step to The Moistest Chicken Ever
– I’ve been devouring Samin Nosrat’s new book “Salt Fat Acid Heat” which explains everything you ever needed to know about the science behind food (I love it but I’m a food nerd!!). She says to mix the 2 tablespoons of salt with 2 cups of buttermilk and put it in a freezer bag, squish all the air out of it and seal it. With the bag closed, massage the buttermilk into the chicken well and leave it in the fridge overnight. The next day, remove the chicken from the fridge about 20 minutes before you are going to cook it, take it out of the bag and scrape the buttermilk off the chicken (but don’t get obsessive about it)…then continue with the recipe below.
So there you have it…three ways to roast up a perfect chicken. And if you have leftover chicken (which you won’t but, whatever!), try it in this chicken salad with cashews and peaches..one of my favorites!!
Winner winner chicken dinner indeed!!
How to Cook the Best Roast Chicken
- 1 5-6lb or 2-3 kg whole chicken
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 lemons (1 whole and one quartered)
- 1 large bunch fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp butter, softened
- 1-2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 3/4 cup kalamate olives, pitted
- 2 medium red onions, quartered
- 1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
- 4 carrots, scrubbed and cut into 2-inch chunks
- 2 sprigs rosemary (optional)
- Olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- If the chicken hasn't been prepped, remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out and cut out any extra fat and leftover feathers and pat the inside and outside dry.
- Pop one of the lemons in the microwave for 30 seconds; set aside. Liberally salt (two tablespoons) and pepper the inside of the chicken
- Carefully lift the skin on the breast and stuff half the chopped parsley under the skin and stuff the rest of the parsley in the cavity along with the warm lemon. Take the butter and smear it on the outside of the chicken along with whatever parsley is still on your prep board. Sprinkle again with salt and pepper. If an "untidy bird" (legs not wrapped b others you, tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken (I'm usually too lazy and leave it as is).
- Place the tomatoes. olives, onions, garlic, carrots, and the quartered lemon in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 2 sprigs of rosemary, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.
- Roast the chicken for 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. If you want to serve the veggies as is, keep them warm (otherwise, if you want to make a quick gravy, puree them and serve on the side). Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.