Those of you who are familiar with Platter Talk may be of the opinion that we feature some pretty fancy foods. Those of you who know me personally know that there is nothing fancy about me.
Even a bald, overweight man in his early 50's can dress up nicely every now and then. Thus, it is the same with food. I like it simple and I like it tasty. This easy roast chicken recipe is really what I am all about.
What is this?
Every time I cook, I like to learn something new. With this simple chicken recipe, I learned how to truss the bird which is quite simple and as I read and subsequently learned for myself, important for creating an evenly roasted chicken that is juicy throughout and easy on the eyes.
How to truss a chicken
The video below offers an excellent demonstration of how to truss a chicken.
As I'm writing this post, there is a background chorus of crackling coming from our kitchen oven. In this very hot oven, I have a chicken roasting nicely in one of our oven-safe all-clad pans with which I have come to have a very close relationship.
But you don't need a fancy and expensive pan for this easy simple baked chicken. I love making it in my ancient cast iron skillet as well!
After this easy roast chicken recipe finishes roasting, we are going to allow it to set in this versatile pan, and then baste it in the juices that settle. If I want, I may just serve the bird within this favorite cooking vessel of mine.
In the end, whether I served this in the pan in which it roasted or on a pretty white platter, it mattered not.
What does matter is this: This chicken recipe is very easy to make. It gives you a chicken that is moist throughout with crispy skin and tender meat.
A long time ago, my dad taught me how to distinguish between good-tasting chicken and chicken that was "not so much." This difference may seem obvious at first but there are nuances among chicken that I grew to appreciate largely because of my father's instruction.
Growing up on the farm, we raised our own poultry. Many afternoons I spent chatting with my mom while she "dressed" a bird. It doesn't come any fresher.
How to roast a chicken
Roasting a chicken is one of the easiest meals you can make. However, there are a few things you can do to make sure you make the best roast chicken possible. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Pre-heat the oven. You can roast your chicken between 400° and 450° F. But you want to make sure the oven is hot when the chicken goes in the oven.
- Dry the chicken before roasting it. You can easily dry the chicken by patting it dry with 3 or 4 paper towels. This is one of the most important steps for getting a nice crispy finish to your roasted chicken.
- Once the chicken is done roasting, allow it to sit for 10 or 15 minutes in its juices before carving. This allows the meat fibers to reabsorb some of the liquid and the meat will be even juicier and more flavorful.
How long to roast a chicken
Chicken should be roasted until it reaches an internal temperature of 165° F. If you don't have a meat thermometer, roast it until the juices run clear and the drumstick feels like it will easily peel away from the rest of the chicken.
As a general rule of thumb, you can estimate that your chicken will take about 20 minutes per lb.
Although I no longer have that luxury, my father's point of their being mouthwatering chicken vs. chicken that is inferior in taste became more apparent than ever after leaving the farm.
Tonight's dinner was unequivocally good tasting chicken, it was prepared very well, and my dad would have loved it. To this day, every time I have good tasting chicken I think of my father and he's been gone for some 15 years already.
To make this dish even better, we took it one step further than the dinner table. When we were finished enjoying it, what was leftover (there was precious little meat uneaten) went into a stockpot of simmering water, celery, some herbs, carrots, and maybe an onion or two.
We will be enjoying a savory and delicious stock from this meal for some time to come. It freezes nicely and I'm sure that every time we use some of it I will think of this wonderful dinner, along with one of America's greatest chefs ever. And of my dad.
This post is dedicated to the memory of my dad, Lloyd D. Zehr, who taught me the importance of being responsible, how to relax and enjoy life, and how to appreciate good chicken.
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Thomas Keller's Favorite Simple Roast Chicken
- 3 lbs Whole chicken Farm-raised
- Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Minced Thyme optional
- Preheat oven to 450° F.
- Salt and pepper cavity of bird, then truss.
- Salt the bird, using about a tablespoon of kosher salt. Make a “rain” of salt over the bird, distributing it evenly and in a uniform fashion. Pepper to taste.
- Put the bird in a sauté pan and place in hot oven for 60 minutes or until done. Remove from oven, and add the thyme. Let stand for 15 minutes to settle, intermittently baste with the juices while setting. Remove twine, cut and serve.
Updated from the original post of October 5, 2014