How to roast a chicken is one of those basic food lessons that I personally do not know well enough. My grocery store had some little fryer chickens (mine was 2.5 lbs) and it was Friday night and I was tired. I just wanted to put a dinner together, put it in the oven, forget about it but maybe learn something along the way.
I turned to Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa) at the Food Network for inspiration. Her husband Jeffrey’s favourite food in the world is roast chicken so I knew hers would be made with love. The only problem is her chicken weighed between 5-6 lbs which is significantly larger than my chicken. I followed an online chart to figure out cooking times but that ended up being useless. In the end I tried to do what the French do, cooked the chicken until it is done.
No fancy flavourings here. I wanted a basic roast chicken so I had salt, pepper, thyme sprigs and a bulb of garlic which I cut in half.
It is very important to season the entire chicken including the inside which was also filled with the garlic and thyme.
With a little melted butter I oiled the outside of the chicken and then seasoned it liberally with salt and pepper. I also tied the legs together and tucked the wings under which ended up popping up anyway. I lay the chicken on a bed of seasoned and oiled vegetables and roasted it at 400F for one hour. With a meat thermometer I checked the chicken and it was not ready and did not look it either. I put it in for another half hour after adding some white wine and chicken broth to the pan. When I took it out I was still not a 100% sure it was cooked all the way through but then I am really paranoid about having my chicken cooked. At this point it had been in the oven as long as Ina’s 5 lb chicken so I figured it had to be done by now!
It took so long some of the veggies scorched but they were cooked and the roasted potatoes were delicious. I let the chicken rest on a plate covered with aluminum foil, removed the vegetables and made an easy pan gravy.
Please note that Jessica commented saying you should never put glassware on the stove like this! Normally I used a different pan and got lucky this time so don’t do this at home!
I put the same dish on the front and back elements of my stove and added some chopped shallot and garlic. After a minute or so I added a little balsamic vinegar followed by chicken broth which I used to scrape up the bits off the bottom.
I added about 1 tsp of cornstarch to 2 tsp of chicken broth, mixed together and then added it to the broth and flavourings and whisked it all up until it turned into a gravy.
The chicken looked fine when I removed the chicken breasts but just to be sure I did a trick my Mom showed me once, I added the meat to the gravy and let it cook a little longer just to be sure.
This chicken was so tender and delicious! I served it with the roasted vegetables which made a wonderfully comforting dinner on a cold winter’s night. My only complaint about roasted chicken is not being able to figure out how long to cook it for but considering I had no idea how long to roast it, I am amazed at how perfectly it turned out!