Guys! Gals! This is hardly rocket science here, but I have to share it with you because it was so good. And it's going to change the way I approach making roasted chicken. The change? I'm not going to reserve it for the weekend. I know, that's hardly earth-shattering, but sometimes those dinner hours get jammed up with extra-curricular goodness during the week and we unconsciously rule out things like roasted chicken, which is a shame.
Now first things first. I wanted to make this on Sunday, but a little incident with my friend losing her keys in the woods derailed both of us from getting to the supermarket and getting back in a timely fashion in order to prep dinner for our families. So instead, I decided I'd roast this chicken in my Emile Henry pot, with a lid on, at a low temperature, on Monday. I started it up around 4 o'clock and it was finished when we returned from karate, around 6:30 or so. When we got home, I upped the temperature to 400°, removed the lid, and then slid a tray of purple and fingerling potatoes I'd already prepped (tossed in EVOO, herbs, salt and pepper) into the oven. I wanted the top of the chicken to crisp a little bit.
Keep in mind, this is NOT going to necessarily look like the kind of chicken you typically make, if you roast it at higher temperature and then drop it down. It is not going to have super crispy brown skin. I have a convection oven, so leaving this uncovered while I was out of the house didn't seem like a good idea. This would have been even better had I tossed it in a zip-top bag with some herbs and salt and pepper in the morning, and then stuck it in the fridge for the whole day. Do that, if you can. Please take a lesson from my oversight.
What you will hopefully get, my friends, is a chicken that's somewhere between a poach and a roast; it sits in its own juices and just falls off the bone. As you can see in the photo, I was so lazy with this, I didn't even truss it properly, and guess what? It was still good. And I was so hungry, I didn't even take fancy composed shots.
- 1 whole chicken, 3-4 pounds, preferably, local, organic, etc., washed and patted dry
- 2-3 T. unsalted cultured butter
- 2-3 springs fresh rosemary
- 1 onion, quartered
- 1 lemon, halved
- Plenty of kosher salt and pepper; I used Chef Salt's Tuscan Herb, which has Dalmatian sage, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, fennel and Sel dolce de Cervia, among other goodies. If you've got an herbed salt you like, I suggest you employ it here.
Preheat your oven to 300° F.
Insert the onion and lemon quarters and halves, respectfully, into the cavity of the chicken. Stick in a sprig or two of rosemary in there too, for good measure. Smush up the butter and rub it under the skin on the top of the bird with your fingertips. Sprinkle the whole thing liberally with salt and pepper—don't be shy here, it's hard to ruin it—on all sides. Place the chicken into the pot, cover it, and roast for about 2 1/2-3 hours.
At around 2 1/2 hours, check the chicken with an instant read thermometer near where the leg meets the body, into the dark meat. (When I did this, it instantly sprang up to 160°.) Remove the lid, turn the oven up to 400° and let it continue to roast for another 10 minutes or so until the skin becomes lightly browned. If your chicken is ready when you check it and you want to eat it immediately, skip this step.
At this point, slide in your tray of veggies (potatoes or otherwise) that you're serving alongside, if you are. Let them roast for about 25-30 minutes. The chicken, with the lid off, and the tray of veggies will share oven space for about 10 minutes or so.
When you are satisfied with the level of browning on your chicken, which may take 10-15 minutes depending on your oven, remove it. Let the potatoes or other veg continue for another 15 minutes or so. In the meantime, assemble a green salad or other item.
When it's time to serve, pull pieces of the chicken off the bone using tongs or a fork, and transfer to a platter. Keep going until it's mostly picked clean. Save the bones and the rest for making stock (that's what we're doing today.)
Serve immediately. This was plenty big for us and yielded enough leftovers for making chicken salad for the boys for lunch today. And then some.