Tuesday, January 31, 2012

perfect roast chicken

By Julie

In case you didn't have a one foolproof way to roast a chicken, you will now. Think of this as your starting point for a million different ways to season and spice it. It's really a technique post, as opposed to a recipe, but I think those are fun. A lot of times I get carried away with thinking about flavors and side dishes that I don't pay as much attention to little details as I could. Plus, if you really kick butt at perfectly cooking a hunk of meat (or vegetable), then you don't even need much seasoning. Think a perfect rib eye. Salt is a wonderful thing.
Did you know that I have a Facebook page? I don't know why I'm excited about it, but I kind of am! If you'd like to hear from me aside from my lame once a week posts, you can like me there. I would like to post more than once a week, but for some reason I can't get it together to do so. Being super picky has its downfalls. Such as, I want to make a rendang recipe, but it means that I have to travel all over town to try to find some certain ingredients that I'm not content getting canned, jarred, or dried versions of. I just don't see much of the point of posting a recipe that has a main component not right. It'd be like making Garlic Chicken! and using garlic powder. Barf. And go to hell.
Week two of the Whole 30 is going swimmingly, though I'm getting nervous at a couple upcoming get togethers that I'm going to. But I can't just stay home, because I think that would defeat the overall purpose of doing the Whole 30 (even though 99% of the time I prefer staying home in my pajamas. God/Tebow I love pajamas). If I can only do it while I'm cloistered, then I'm not really making any change. I'm more be doing some weird cleanse that's only purpose is to rid you of some new age jargon. It is pretty funny to talk to other people who are also in some newyearnewyou mindset, when eating/dieting comes up. I've had someone say, after briefly outlining what I'm not eating, that "oh, so like lots of raw vegetables." Huh? I don't get why raw vegetables would be how you interpret it. Or like, "oh cool, well you should try this awesome low fat cake I made." Wait, what? Understanding food is not that hard people.
I'm not going to get into making the perfect pan sauce for this recipe, though it really is a wonderful thing. It's just that wine makes the most wonderful pan sauce, and I don't want to include a rather un-celebratory pan sauce with a decidedly celebratory roast chicken post. Because, you know, with my raw vegetable diet, wine isn't included. So, for a not-so-perfect sauce, may I suggest just some water or chicken broth to deglaze the roasting pan and then boiling it down. Still pretty great.
So I guess I should discuss a little of why this is considered a technique post. First, the oven temperature is on the high side. This results in a superior crispy skin. Second, stuffing the bird with lemon and/or onion is a surefire way to help it not dry out. Third, salting the crap out of it helps make the skin even crispier. And tastier. Um, yup that's pretty much it. It's the little things.

perfect roast chicken
adapted from Ruhlman's Twenty

3-4 pound chicken
coarse salt
1 lemon
1 small onion, quartered

1. Take the chicken out of the fridge about 30 minutes to an hour before you plan on roasting it. Rinse it and generously salt the inside and outside. Let it drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the chicken in a cast iron pan, or other roasting pan. Zest the lemon over the top of the chicken (optional, it doesn't make the chicken look as pretty cooked as it would if you use just salt). Quarter the lemon and stuff it inside, along with the onion pieces.

3. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 1 hour. Check the doneness by cutting into the leg joint - if the juices aren't clean, chuck back in the oven for another 5 minutes and check again. When done, let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

4. While the chicken is resting, on a plate or rimmed cutting board, you can deglaze the pan and boil it down to make your little sauce.
Now that you've perfected the lowly chicken, what are you going to do next with it? Don't say coat it in garlic powder.

This was originally posted at my blog, the crankin' kitchen!

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