Some people think chicken is boring and unexciting, but I disagree, especially when it comes to a whole roasted chicken.
To me, a large roasted chicken coming out of the oven, crispy-skinned and glistening, fragrant with the aromas of a happy family dinner, is so impressive, so festive, that I always serve it during the Jewish High Holidays.
And can I tell you the other benefits?
Chicken is extraordinarily versatile. You can season it so many ways that you will never run out of ideas. Spice it with Baharat or sprinkle it with fresh chopped rosemary. Or just salt and pepper. Drizzle it with Balsamic vinegar and a bit of orange peel. Baste it with orange juice or wine or chicken stock. Give it some heat with jalapeno peppers or harissa or make it sweet and mild by cooking it with apples and honey.
I could go on, except I need to tell you that making roasted chicken is EASY.
Here’s the proof:
1 roasting chicken, 5-6 pounds
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
garlic powder and paprika, optional
ras el hanout, baharat, garam masala, harissa, chopped fresh herbs to taste, optional
1 to 1-1/2 cups chicken stock, white wine or juice
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove any pinfeathers and extra flesh and fat from the chicken. Take out the package of giblets inside the cavity (you may save these pieces for stock, except for the liver, or roast them along with the chicken). Brush the olive oil all over the chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and optional seasonings. Place the chicken breast side down on a rack placed inside a roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees. Roast the chicken for 15 minutes. Pour the stock (wine or juice) over the chicken and roast for another 15 minutes. Turn the chicken breast side up. Roast the chicken, basting occasionally, for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken, or until the chicken is cooked through (a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast registers 160 degrees or 165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh). Remove the chicken to a carving board and let rest for 15 minutes before carving. Serve with pan juices (you may strain the pan fluids if desired, and/or reduce them to desired thickness by boiling the fluids in a small saucepan over high heat).
Makes 6 servings