Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

lullyloo

Roasting a Chicken

Recommended Posts

Due to my current work-full-time-school-at-night schedule, I usually cook something on Sunday that I can take for dinner all week long.  This week I'm thinking of roasting a big chicken.  I've roasted turkey at Thanksgiving and a pork shoulder once;  I've eaten tons of roast chicken especially now that I live in Washington Heights, whose huge Dominican population spit-roasts crusty, garlicky chicken on every corner.  But I've never roasted my own.  I've seen several people mention it on the Dinner thread but would like to give it its own special thread, so people might share their expertise on the subject -   favorite versions, tips, etc.  (Note to Jinmyo and Liza:  Could you please expand a little on your discussion of leaving the innards in?)  Thanks in advance!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like to stuff a butter-herb-spice mixture under the skin and inside the cavity of the chicken, then roast atop an extra leg and the extra bits (neck, liver, etc) as this seems to add immeasurably to the pan juices. We tend to roast it upside down (breast down) so the juices stay in the breast and then finish the last 15 minutes or so on high heat, breast side up to get the skin crispy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not so gone on whole roast chickens. The breast meat just doesn't do it for me so I roast hind quarters for the most part.

When I do roast them, I spatchcock (cut out backbone, flatten the bird onto the pan) and either dry rub or do the old butter and herbs (sage and thyme) under the skin trick. I've also deboned the blighter and stuffed with shallots, garlic, celery and wild mushrooms. Big deal for nothing really.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
then roast atop an extra leg and the extra bits (neck, liver, etc) as this seems to add immeasurably to the pan juices.

the begs the question:  where do you get a 3 legged-chicken?

i'm also a fan of stuffing an herb mixture under the skin.  

liza, the innards don't cook to much in the roasting pan?  

obviously throw carrots, celery, onion and a head of garlic in the pan as well so that you can get some good au jus from the thing when you're done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like to put several sprigs of fresh rosemary between the skin and the meat, loosened up with my fingers, and also a couple inside.  It's absolutely fantastic.  I have a rosemary plant that I use exclusively for this purpose.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
then roast atop an extra leg and the extra bits (neck, liver, etc) as this seems to add immeasurably to the pan juices.

the begs the question:  where do you get a 3 legged-chicken?

From a KFC supplier. :wow:


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lullyloo, I prefer to slather a kosher chicken with goose fat and a sprinkling of gros sel and five pepper blend.  Inside I splash 2 0z. of aquavit (and drain), add some lemon and onion wedges, along with some celery.  Roast at 450 degrees, (Optional-starting on back side first then turing over after about 45 minutes (2-3 lb. chicken)).  If not a kosher chicken, I'm told brining makes big difference, but I've never done it.

The result with the goose fat is a crisp and flavorful skin, and rich moist meat.  The acquavit adds a caraway and dill hint which mixes well with the lemon and onion inside to flavor the chicken.  Use small quantities lest you overpower the whole deal.  Oh, as for innards, I put the neck, stomach and heart in the cavity and discard after roasting, though some like to cut up and make a pan fry of these to mix with the sauce.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another good thing to poke under the skin is fresh tarragon - just a little, it's powerful stuff.

I used to use a technique for getting the breast skin extra crispy which involved plunging the raw bird, breast side down, into just boiled water (carefully!).  I think it helped a little, but not so much that I persevered with the approach.  Anyone else want to speak up for this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wilfrid: I used to use a technique for getting the breast skin extra crispy which involved plunging the raw bird, breast side down, into just boiled water (carefully!).

I've done this the result is my fingers have become very crispy and finger lickin' good. :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ouch.  By the way, maybe my post was a bit vague.  The idea is that the hot dip loosens the skin from the breast, and it then crisps up better*.  It also helps, once the bird has cooled a little, in getting your fingers under the skin for stuffing purposes.

*Same technique for peeling testicles, of course.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Roasting chicken is so important, if one cooks at all, if one eats chicken at all, that one ought practice it frequently.  I think.

Fantastic straightforward no-muss no-fuss and great planned-overs from Marcella Hazan's lemon-in-the-cavity breast-side-down-to-begin no-basty method.  From her first book, I think?  Fancier, and with the toothsome crispy skin to show for it, are the various butter-enriched versions, such as have been introduced here.

I know to many it is anachronistic, (wouldn't be the first time I've been called that, would it), but I still like to mostly put the butter on the OUTside of the chicken.  Soft butter rubbed on at the start, melted butter basted on during, etc.  Oh of course I do the under-the-skin thing, too, and actually, this has been preoccupying me because my sage plant is burgeoning with unusually humunguous very green leaves this spring.  I'm a little worried about it, frankly.  But this does not keep me from exploiting it culinarily.

I also advocate the cutting-out-the-backbone thing for which I now until the end of time will have a word, a very good word, thank you Jinmyo.  Originally got the method from Madeleine Kamman, but I never heard her say spatchcock.  However, I can imagine same.  Can't you?

And Tommy, I am SO putting honey on during the final minutes of roasting the very next chicken that crosses my purview, I cannot tell you.

And Wilfrid, I have a friend who pours boiling water over the chicken, in the sink, say, prior to roasting, which might be a safer route to your intended destination.

And Liza, the gizzards, when their presence is not required elsewhere, are going right under the dang chicken.

I'm not going for the extra-leg juke, however.  Jinmyo put me right off that idea with that KFC reference...brought to mind those three-pronged carrots from the "Gilligan's Island" episode in which they The Castaways planted radiated veg seeds.

Priscilla


Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ● Twitter Instagram

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i know it was probably discussed elsewhere, but since i missed it, can someone describe spatchcock, or whatever that backbone cutting thing is called?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, this has puzzled me for YEARS.  I love lemon with chicken, but have never ever seen lemons small enough to stuff even one in the cavity let alone two, so I feel I've never done Marcella Hazan's brilliantly simple recipe justice.  Am I missing something here?  

I am also a big fan of butterflying/spatchcocking, which I learned originally from Richard Olney's 'Simple French Food.'  It's especially good on my grill/smoker because it's so easy to flip it skin toward the coals for crisping.  Stuffiing under the skin is a favorite ploy when I have time - it looks gorgeous, tastes terrific, and people (well, non-cooks) are always so impressed.  :raz:

I like to brine, especially if I have to make do with a run-of-the-mill chicken.  

For crispy skin and more flavor, I brush a butterflied bird with a mix of Dijon mustard, honey, soy sauce and a little olive oil - then grill or broil.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cathy, I think you may be missing something with the lemons.  It is okay to cut them first - into quarters, I suggest.  And I agree with you about brining, although I tend to save that for turkeys.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would someone mind explaining the brining process?  How long, how much salt, etc.  And what does it do?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i started a "brining" topic if anyone wants to share their experience with this particular approach.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's the Chez Panisse brine recipe, meant for a turkey, so cut it down for a chicken...

Heat about 2-1/2 gallons of water to near boiling, then dissolve 2 cups of kosher salt and a cup of sugar in it. Flavor it with 2 bay leaves, torn into pieces, 1 bunch fresh thyme (or 4 tablespoons dried), 1 whole head of peeled garlic, 5 crushed allspice berries, and 4 crushed juniper berries. Brine turkey overnight.

I'm pretty sure Col Klink has posted a few of his brines over on the Pacific NW board, too.

I roast a lot of chickens, since chicken is Judith's favorite protein, but she also loves the backs, so I leave them intact. I mix coarse salt, pepper, garlic, and whatever dried herbs I have a lot of (typically thyme, marjoram, sage, maybe some celery seed) with olive oil to make a paste, then stuff that under the skin (breast and back) and rub it on the outside. I also start breast down, then flip for the last 30 minutes or so, but even then the breat will get dried out. Unless you brine, I don't think you can avoid it if you like your chicken falling-off-the-bone done. I pour a little olive oil over the meat, which helps any chicken breast no matter how it's cooked. If nobody eats the breast (I like the wings best), I'll use the meat for something else that I can moisten up.

I also like to rub with salt, pepper, olive oil, and pimenton, the Spanish smoked paprika. I like to do these birds three-up on the Weber, indirect heat method, with some fruitwood tossed on to create a little smoke...not exactly smoked chicken, but great smoky flavor.

One constant is using good chickens. The free-range birds we get are consistently better tasting than the factory farmed ones.

Jim


olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Okay, this has puzzled me for YEARS.  I love lemon with chicken, but have never ever seen lemons small enough to stuff even one in the cavity let alone two, so I feel I've never done Marcella Hazan's brilliantly simple recipe justice.  Am I missing something here?  

Yes, as Wilfrid said, cut the lemon.

Marcella's instructions are to pierce the whole lemon all over with a skewer, which is what I used to do, on account of it being Marcella who said so, but now I cut a lemon in half and bung it in there.  Wonderful simple dependable staple, in the best sense.

Priscilla


Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ● Twitter Instagram

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wilfrid, quartering the lemons is what I've always done...but Marcella says to leave them whole and pierce them all over with a needle.  One would think that Italian chickens are even smaller than our battery-raised birds.  So...I'm STILL puzzled.  But thanks for the reply!

Lullyloo, there's a good article about brining, written by Janet Fletcher for the SF Chronicle in '98.  It no longer seems to be available online, but it's been copied onto the site linked below.  (Apologies if this breaks eGullet rules...)

Ready for Brine Time

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks all for the brine info, especially the Brine Time link Cathy L gave.  Fascinating.  I'm definitely going to try it.  I hate dried out white meat and always think that is the downside of roast chicken.  Wilfred and Jim, does the sugar make the meat noticeably sweeter or just add to the potency of the brine?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have never noticed a sweetening effect.  It doesn't really make the meat salty either.  Perhaps someone else can explain what goes on chemically, but I find the meat to be more tender and more strongly flavored.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Same technique for peeling testicles, of course.

(Okay, okay, did you think I could let that one just sit there)?

I must admit to being a little out of practice at that.  Maybe it's a lost art or a metier?  Is this something out of work moile's do?  Wilfrid, given a choice between peeling testicles or spatchcocking, which would you choose?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Same technique for peeling testicles, of course.

(Okay, okay, did you think I could let that one just sit there)?

I must admit to being a little out of practice at that.  Maybe it's a lost art or a metier?  Is this something out of work moile's do?  Wilfrid, given a choice between peeling testicles or spatchcocking, which would you choose?

J.

What makes you think that Wilfrid would know what a moile is?  (That's how you spell it?)

S.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OY, can I really be joining a moil thread transversed with chicken? I take whatever I'm stuffing the bird with and rub it all over the skin, as it is already all over my hands at the time, and that's the best way to try to get it off. We like melted butter, with saffron, fresh sliced garlic, and some other green herb - tarragon, oregano, rosemary, lemon thyme (yippee!) etc.

And Priscilla, I heartily encourage the bunging of the lemon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...