Sometimes, certain dishes seem intimidating to make. I think roasted chicken is one of those things. If you’ve never cooked a whole chicken before, you just don’t know where to begin. How do I season it? How long do I cook it? What do I do with the bird when I take it out of the package? So many questions.
That’s why I just love this recipe. It takes the guess work out of making a whole chicken and it delivers fantastic results every time! Dare I say, it is the Perfect Roast Chicken? 😉
In case you didn’t know, October is Tiny Kitchen Recipe Remix month. Just like a singer would cover a great song, we are covering some of the greatest recipes out there. This Perfect Roast Chicken recipe comes from none other than the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. Ina is known for a ton of fantastic recipes…and if you watch her on the Food Network or have picked up her latest cookbook, Cooking for Jeffrey (Available Here), you know her husband, Jeffrey, definitely agrees!
Ina’s recipe is really straightforward and it doesn’t try to wow you with fancy ingredients or complicated techniques. It really is another example of a great “set it and forget it” style recipe.
I love the choice of vegetables for this recipe. Not many people think of cooking with fennel. When roasted, though, it is one of my most favorite vegetables. Plus, it’s generally inexpensive and very easy to find. I think it is what kicks this recipe into second gear for me. I get so used to the usual and the same foods day in and day out. So when there is something that adds a little spark…that’s a bit out of the ordinary…I get excited about that.
Roasting the fennel gives it such a mild, sweet flavor. Combine that with the caramelized goodness of the carrots and onions and you’ve basically got a built in side dish. You can start with a salad or whip up mashed potatoes if you want…but I don’t think it’s necessary. With just the roasted veggies, you’ve got a full, satisfying meal. Heck, if you want the meal to go a little bit farther, you could add more vegetables or just throw some cut potatoes in with the fennel, carrots and onions. Just cut them about the same size.
Three key things to think about when working with a whole chicken:
- Make sure you look inside the bird. Believe me, I have heard of many of folks who have cooked a chicken or a turkey with the bag of giblets (or goodies, as I like to call them) still inside the bird. So make sure you take them out. What are they and why do they put them in there? It’s usually made up of some of the internal organs (heart, kidney, liver and gizzard) of the bird and sometimes the neck. You can do a ton of things with them, but most often, they’re used to make gravy. Here’s a great recipe from Ree Drummond for that in case you want to give it a shot: Giblet Gravy Recipe But don’t stress yourself about making giblet gravy for this Perfect Roast Chicken. It’s juicy enough that you won’t need it.
- Rinse the chicken under cold water and thoroughly dry the outside of the bird with a paper towel. That’s very important to get a crispy and golden brown skin! Also, check to make sure there are not any pin feathers left on the chicken. If so, just remove them.
- Use one hand to hold the chicken and the other to season. This will prevent you from cross-contaminating your spices with raw chicken. You’ll get used to this technique really quickly and if there’s ever a concern, just wash your hands with some soap and start again. No problem.
You keep those three things in mind and you’re on the road to success.
There is a real sense of accomplishment when tackling a whole chicken…and if you’re cooking it for someone else or a group of folks, the moment you present it at the table with all the vegetables arranged around it will be a really satisfying moment…not only for you, but also the lucky folks that will greet your presentation with “Oooohs” and “Aaaahs.” I’m telling you, it’s impressive!
It might even have you thinking that you could tackle a Thanksgiving Turkey. And I’m here to tell you….YOU CAN!
I’d love to hear your stories about making the Perfect Roast Chicken and be sure to share any variations for the vegetables that you love.
Perfect Roast Chicken (adapted from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa)
SO WHAT YOU'RE GONNA NEED IS:
- Cut ends off of an Onion. Peel off outside layers. Cut Onion into quarters. Place into Casserole dish.
- Cut ends off Carrots. Cuts unpeeled Carrots into 2 inch segments. Place into Casserole dish.
- Cut tops off of Fennel bulb and discard. Cut Fennel Bulb into 1/4 inch slices. Place into Casserole dish.
- Add Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper to vegetables. Mix until coated.
- Cut Lemon into quarters. Cut head of Garlic in half crosswise. Set aside.
- Remove giblets from inside of the Chicken and discard. Rinse and thoroughly dry Chicken with paper towel.
- Season inside the Chicken with Salt and Pepper. Stuff Chicken with Lemon, Garlic and Thyme.
- Truss the legs of the Chicken with Cooking Twine to keep the legs tucked close to the body. Tuck wings under.
- Brush the outside of the Chicken with melted butter. Season liberally with Salt and Pepper. Place on top of the vegetables.
- 10. Bake at 400F oven for about 1 1/2 hours or until the juices run clear. For better consistency, place thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh (not touching the bone) and remove Chicken from oven when it reaches 165F.