Perfect Roast Chicken

I’m so excited to blog about this chicken because it was the best chicken I’ve ever had.  The skin was crispy and the meat moist and flavorful.  It was perfect.  I started with the basis of Ina’s Perfect Roast Chicken recipe but made a few changes to ensure crisper skin. 

I started by rinsing my 5-6 pound chicken inside and out then patted it dry with paper towels.  Getting it dry is essential. If it isn’t dry then it will steam rather than brown.

I sprinkled the chicken’s insides with salt and pepper- be generous.  I then stuffed it’s behind with 2 lemons, cut in quarters, about 10 sprigs of time, and a head of garlic, cut horizontally.  All of these give off flavor while it’s roasting and infuse the chicken meat from inside.

This is where I differ from Ina- she says to butter the outside of the skin but I’ve found that while that does brown it, it doesn’t make it crispy.  I suggest cutting up 2 tbs of butter and gently loosening the breast skin and slipping the butter right between the skin and the meat.  This is where it will do the most good.  You can then press on the skin to spread out the butter a little more. Then brush the outside with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cut up :
– 4 carrots in 2 inch chunks
– a bulb of fennel, quartered
–  1 large onion, thickly sliced
Toss them all in olive oil and salt and pepper.  Lay this on the bottom of your roasting dish. Spread out 10-15 sprigs of thyme on top. Then place the chicken in the dish.

Tuck the wings under the bird and tie the legs together.  I used these great silicone bands. They are just like rubber bands but can withstand 500 degrees.  I think they’re easier.

Roast this beautiful bird at 425 degrees for about an hour, depending on the size of your bird.  Test the temperature after an hour, you want the center of the breast to be 160 degrees and the leg/thigh to be 175.

This is the most important part of the whole recipe- LET IT REST. The juices need time to figure themselves out.  10-15 minutes should be sufficient.  If you are tempted to cut it open, take a look at this picture.  It shows how much juice is lost if you don’t let it rest.  This applies to all meat.

I ate this chicken with a side that deserves its own post- couscous with peas and mint.  It was almost better than the chicken.  I’ll post the recipe later. Stay tuned.

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