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Roasting a Chicken

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Why are we re-inventing the chicken? Wasn't there already a wonderful thread (or two?) about roasting the perfect chicken and the "how-to's"?

Here.

And Here.

And Here.

Amidst these threads you'll find two glorious new words for your eGullet chicken vocabulary: "brine" & "spatchcock". :wub:


 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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If your chicken takes a long time to cook or is not as crisp as you want (apart from having crowded too many veg in) is your oven a bit small? A small oven can take a while to get back up to heat when you put something big in, like a chicken.

As for quality...brining saves the sadder chickens, but quality does count! There was a reason why people used to buy either a "boiling" or a "roasting" chicken...quite apart from the flabby, flavorless factory chickens that are today's standard issue.

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I've been roasting chicken for well over 30 years, and never baste it. I think I read somewhere that basting is a waste of time and oven heat. One thing you can do to crisp the skin ( and forgive me if someone has already mentioned it...I had to skim ) is to keep it in the fridge overnight, unwrapped. If I'm being efficient ( and that doesn't happen that often ), I'll brine the bird for 7 hours and then rinse and let it rest unwrapped in the fridge overnight.

Mostly, I don't bother...just the brine. Lots of fresh rosemary and unpeeled garlic, a lemon in the cavity, olive oil all over the bird and a splash of white wine. Roast at 375 til done.It's usually divine.

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I was at the butcher's this morning, picking up some back ribs for dinner tonight. A whole organic chicken caught my eye, and before I knew it, I'd added the chicken to my purchases.

Now, I can't tell you how long it's been since I roasted a chicken and I don't have a rotisserie :biggrin:

I realize this should be easy, after all, I roast turkeys all the time, but I'm open to suggestions on how to cook/stuff etc this bird.

Rachel's roast chicken in the dinner thread looks awesome, but I'm making the assumption that wasn't a whole chicken. (Rachel will correct me if I'm wrong as usual, no doubt :biggrin: )

The ribs are still planned for tonight's dinner, and we're dining out tomorrow, but I'm thinking that roast chicken could be on Sunday's menu - with a little help from my fellow egulleteers of course :rolleyes::smile:


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Don't worry - it's pretty simple. At its most basic:

Preheat a 200C/400F oven.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cut up a few onions into 1" pieces to make a platform in your roasting tray. Place the chicken BREAST SIDE DOWN for 40 minutes.

Turn the chicken breast side up for 20 until browned.

After an hour total, prick the thick side of the thigh and see what color the juices are that run out. If pink, give it another 10 minutes and check again. When the juices run clear, IT'S DONE!!

Rest for at least 15 mins (and preferably 20-25) before carving.

To the above, you can add flavoured butters under the skin, stuff the cavity with half a lemon, sprigs of thyme and taragon and rosemary etc. But the above is, technically, where to start from.


"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

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I do precisely the same thing with roast chicken as I do with roast turkey - loosen up the leg and breast skin and rub butter, tarragon, thyme, and a little salt (depending on if the butter is salted or not) underneath, throw some onion along with more tarragon and thyme in the cavity, drop in a 450 oven for 20-30 minutes to get a good healthy brown glow on the skin, then cover with foil, drop the temp to 350 and roast to appropriate internal temp (I think it's 180 for poultry, but I always have to look it up.) I haven't tried using roasted garlic in the rub, but I bet that'd be tasty as well.

As far as stuffing/dressing, I come from the dressing-in-separate-pan tradition, so I've never bothered trying to stuff the bird itself. Let me know if you want the dressing recipe as well - it's my grandmother's, and it always turns out fabulously.


"Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" --Eddie Izzard

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Zuni Cafe Style - especially useful if it's Sunday you're going for.

Rinse and thoroughly dry the bird. Salt and pepper very liberally and stuff some fresh thyme under the skin on the breasts and thighs. Put on plate or pan and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Wait till Sunday.

Preheat the oven to 450. Put a cast iron pan on a medium burner for a few minutes. Plop bird on hit pan breast side down. Plop pan with chicken into the oven and let go 30 minutes. At 30, flip bird onto back and roast another 20. At 20, flip back onto breast for last 10 minutes. This timing works for a 3.5-4 lb. bird.

Take out, check the temp for doneness (if the bird is small or your oven runs hot you might do this after the 20 minutes on the back, too). Breast should be 160 or so. Let the bird rest a bit and then your in for a tasty chicken.

I often use the cast iron pan with the drippings for roasting some asparagus or sauteing some greens. The fat, salt and pepper as well as the brown bits make for a great side of veggies.

Enjoy.

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I do precisely the same thing with roast chicken as I do with roast turkey - loosen up the leg and breast skin and rub butter, tarragon, thyme, and a little salt (depending on if the butter is salted or not) underneath, throw some onion along with more tarragon and thyme in the cavity, drop in a 450 oven for 20-30 minutes to get a good healthy brown glow on the skin, then cover with foil, drop the temp to 350 and roast to appropriate internal temp (I think it's 180 for poultry, but I always have to look it up.) I haven't tried using roasted garlic in the rub, but I bet that'd be tasty as well.

As far as stuffing/dressing, I come from the dressing-in-separate-pan tradition, so I've never bothered trying to stuff the bird itself. Let me know if you want the dressing recipe as well - it's my grandmother's, and it always turns out fabulously.

Yes, dressing recipe please. :smile: Perferably posted in the archive (hint hint? pretty please?) :biggrin:


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Marlene,

You might want to give one of these threads a look.

I just knew there were other threads around. I'm just a lousy searcher. Thanks Sam :smile:


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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The prevailing wisdom around here seems to be: brine, spatchcock, very hot pan. I have had excellent results (the best, really) spatchcocking by splitting at the breastbone rather than cutting out tbe backbone.


--

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Brine, spatchcock, very hot pan.

:wink:


"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

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With a full-time job and a small herd that gets cranky with hunger at dinnertime, I gravitate towards the no-fuss no-muss school of weeknight meal preparation. Maybe I'm just lazy, but I've never gotten into this flipping-the-bird thing. Nor am I a spatchcocker. And while crackling-crisp chicken skin is a marvelous thing, I'm of the opinion that it's not a natural state of affairs for a simple roast chicken. I roast chicken for dinner once a week. Like this:

Heat the oven to 500°F.

For a 4-ish lb. bird, I peel and smash 6 cloves of garlic, peel and quarter a small onion, and halve a lemon. I make up a small dish of kosher salt blended with freshly ground black pepper, and cut two 1-ft. lengths of kitchen twine for trussing. All of this gets rounded up next to the sink, along with a bottle of OO, my roasting pan and, if I have any, a small dish containing either a few teaspoons of herbes de Provence or a teaspoon of fennel pollen, and a wad of paper towels. Prepping up like this before I get into the bird itself prevents my smearing toxic chicken goo all over the kitchen as I round up my tools and ingredients.

I unwrap the bird in the sink, rinse it with cool water and pat it dry. Then I flip the bad girl on her back and tie her wings together at the "elbows" to force her breasts out, and tuck her wing tips under her shoulders.

Standing her on her neck end, I squeeze half a lemon into her cavity, sprinkle it well with S&P, stuff in the lemon half and the onion and garlic, and finish up by squeezing and stuffing in the rest of the lemon. Then I quickly tie her delicate ankles together and lay her on her back in the pan.

Next, she gets doused with a few tablespoons of OO, which I rub tenderly in to her nooks and crannies. Then I generously season her all over with S&P and whichever seasoning I have on hand and stuff her into the oven.

Prep takes all of 10 minutes.

Let her roast for half an hour at 500, then drop the temp to 400 and let her go another hour and some until she's done. I baste two or three times with whatever lovely fat has oozed out into the pan.

For skin obsessives, the thigh skin done this way is nice and crisp. The breast skin will be burnished and crisp when the bird first leaves the oven, but will soften as it rests.

I gluttonously use the chicken fat to sauté brussels sprouts or roast cauliflower as an accompaniment.

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Yes, dressing recipe please. :smile: Perferably posted in the archive (hint hint? pretty please?) :biggrin:

Yes'm. It's a little light on specific quantities, but I'll make my best guess.


"Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" --Eddie Izzard

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Marlene! No matter what you do with the bird, be sure to toss at least 6 whole unpeeled cloves of garlic in the bottom of the cocotte to roast with. When it's done, squeeze the paste out and add it to the gravy you make with the deglazed pan.

If you decide to cut it down into pieces, something I often do to cook in a flat pan, a 350 degree F / 170 C will be fine. The great thing about chicken is that in the oven roasting, it's not a very delicate temperaturewise because it's not so big. - not like a turkey that must be monitored with a thermometer and made sure to cook until it reaches a certain temp inside near the bone - when it looks and smells done, it's done.

I always smear with softened butter and dredge lightly in my magic spice mix:

3 T. Paprika

2 T. salt

1T. Oregano or H. de Provence (whatever's easier)

1 T. Cayenne

1 T. black Pepper

1 T. dried ground garlic

1T. dried ground onion

(makes more than you'll use)

I quarter a few onions, add a carrot or two, some herbs in the cavity of the bird (like bay leaf, sage, thyme, or basil) & cover the chicken with foil for the first 20 minutes, then remove the foil for the second 20 minutes.

Have a great dinner!

-Lucy

Edited to add the herb in the cavity part, since Toliver alerted me! Thank you! P.S. the herbs are not absolutely necessary but I like to do it.


Edited by bleudauvergne (log)

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Yes, our recent roasted chicken pictures in the Dinner! thread are all whole chickens. I'm in the prep with good stuff, especially under the skin, and bung it in the oven school, as opposed to the truss & baste & flip three times school.

I agree with GGMora about getting all your ingredients together so you're not getting chicken germs all over the place as you prep the bird. When seasoning and doing the getting stuff under the skin thing, I do this in a bowl, so as to not lose any flavorings down the sink. Also, since I like skin and dark meat, and Jason likes breast meat and no skin, I prefer to cook our chicken breast side down the whole time. But if you like crisp breast skin, just turn it over once about 1 hour into cooking.

I generally cook it at 300-350, depending on size, how soon dinner is to be served, and what else is going in the oven. A 4 lb chicken for an hour and a half at 400-500??? That sounds like a dry bird to me. Of course, the oven door is being opened to baste the thing, so that would slow down cooking.

After it's done -- I calculate 15 min/lb at 325 -- I let it rest and make a gravy from drippings -- I usually have something liquid in the pan to keep the dripping from burning. My recent pineapple-teriyaki roasted chicken sat atop pineapple slices & juice, orange juice & some of the teriyaki marinade. Yes, the breast skin is flacid, but then I throw it out and make a great gravy with the defatted drippings.

*** Remember, plenty of gravy makes up for (slightly) overcooked chicken.

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A 4 lb chicken for an hour and a half at 400-500??? That sounds like a dry bird to me.

Nope. Breasts still moist and tender....utterly succulent thighs!

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Marlene! No matter what you do with the bird, be sure to toss at least 6 whole unpeeled cloves of garlic in the bottom of the cocotte to roast with. When it's done, squeeze the paste out and add it to the gravy you make with the deglazed pan.

If you decide to cut it down into pieces, something I often do to cook in a flat pan, a 350 degree F / 170 C will be fine. The great thing about chicken is that in the oven roasting, it's not a very delicate temperaturewise because it's not so big. - not like a turkey that must be monitored with a thermometer and made sure to cook until it reaches a certain temp inside near the bone - when it looks and smells done, it's done.

I always smear with softened butter and dredge lightly in my magic spice mix:

3 T. Paprika

2 T. salt

1T. Oregano or H. de Provence (whatever's easier)

1 T. Cayenne

1 T. black Pepper

1 T. dried ground garlic

1T. dried ground onion

(makes more than you'll use)

I quarter a few onions, add a carrot or two, some & cover the chicken with foil for the first 20 minutes, then remove the foil for the second 20 minutes.

Have a great dinner!

-Lucy

Both this and Rachel's chicken sound wonderful- and all the others of course, but I'm torn between making one of these for my first roasted chicken in a few years :biggrin:

I don't think they sell Soy Vey in Canada, but there are a few other Teryiake marinades out there I could try.

That picture just looked so damn good. :smile:


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I've tried lots of different methods and have settled on benign neglect :biggrin:.

Rub the chicken all over with whatever kind of spices or spice rub you want -- I usually throw together a blends from Chris Schlesinger's "Thrill of the Grill". Place chicken on V-rack and roast at 350 for about 1 - 1.5 hours (that's a 4 lb bird). Sometimes a little longer if I've been too lazy to preheat the oven. Skin gets crispy and golden and the bird stays juicy. We also love to roast chickens in the grill, using indirect heat.

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While we're on the subject of roast chickens, the last poster's comment about a 4 lb. bird got me thinking about what the optimal size is for a roasting chicken. A four-pounder sounds more like a fryer to me. Around here (DC) the Giant sometimes puts their Perdue Oven Stuffer Roasters on sale for about 69 cents/lb. They typically weigh in at 7-8 lbs. I like leftovers. Is there a qualitive difference in taste between the bigger and smaller birds?

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I just checked. My bird is six pounds. :smile:


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Logic tells me that the heavier, hence older, birds will tend to be a little bit tougher.

Mrs. JPW and I generally find a 4 # bird to give the perfect amount of food and leftovers (and carcass for stock).

However, and I may just be nuts but, I find that certain brands and certain stores just have better birds. I pay a ransom to Whole Paycheck to get the Bell+Evans fowl.


If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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Check out this thread for a great discussion of brining, spatchcocking and the wonderful "Chef Fowke Truss".


Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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I make up a 'green goo' that's rubbed all over the bird, under the skin:

juice of one lemon

a few Tbs of evoo

oregano

thyme

basil

salt

pepper

This should be very liquid, almost like a heavy salad dressing.

This all gets mixed and lavishly smeared under the skin. I usually split the breast skin a little (not intended) and have to repair it with toothpicks. I then let the birdie sit for half an hour at room temp. Then a lemon, cut in half , salt pepper and a couple of bay leaves (fresh from my bay tree) go inside. I tend to go with the slower roasting, but pick your favorite. I do baste the bird when I think of it, but otherwise, I subscribe to the benign neglect theory once it's in the oven.

While stuffing is good, I love James Beard's corn pudding with this roasted bird, and whatever veggies you choose. Such comfort food! :smile:


“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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