Roasted chicken is one of those simple dishes a lot of people don’t seem to be able to master.
Since whole chickens are a great way of stretching your “meat budget,” it stands to reason you should know how to cook one and cook it well.
Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken is my go-to recipe anytime I need a roasted chicken on the table. I’ve changed a couple of things but the general recipe and technique is still there.
And do me a favor? Get a digital meat thermometer.
1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
1 lime, quartered
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
1 large red/purple onion, thickly sliced
4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges–If you don’t like fennel then don’t worry about it.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.
Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Or you can roast it until the thigh meat hits 165 degrees. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes.
Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.
It’s yum. Really.
You can also make a paste of sorts out of some olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and thyme and spread it between the skin and the meat.