Nothing used to intimidate me more in the kitchen than a whole chicken. Unless it was a whole turkey. I just didn’t know what to do with a raw bird. And I certainly didn’t know how to roast chicken or carve it. But I live in the Netherlands and decent pre-cooked roast chicken is hard to come by. Luckily, I also have an exemplary English mother-in-law to learn from. She produces fantastic ‘Traditional Roast Lunches’. So, I bit the bullet and took the plunge into cooking Roast Chicken. What a revelation it was! Slap that bird in the oven and it takes care of itself.
Here’s Roast Chicken the easy way
- Pre-heat your oven to 450˚F/230˚C.
- Spray a roasting rack with Pam or lightly grease it to make clean-up easier.
- As far as clean-up goes, I line the roasting pan with foil to catch the drippings.
- Put your chicken on the rack.
- Pop it in the oven.
- Turn the oven down immediately to 350˚F/180˚C.
- For birds up to 6 pounds/3 kilos cook for 20-25 minutes per pound.
Optional Roast Chicken extras
- Squeeze and stuff some lemon halves or garlic cloves in the cavity. Or add some sprigs of rosemary, thyme or other fresh herbs.
- Some people like to salt the skin before they roast the bird. I don’t because I’m trying to limit added sodium.
- Some people swear by basting every 10 minutes or so after the first half hour. I’m lazy, I hate to clean my baster and I’ve never noticed it making much difference to the taste anyway.
- If you like to use a thermometer, insert it into the meaty part of the thigh, but make sure it’s not up against the bone.
When is Roast Chicken roasted?
- When you prick the skin of the thigh and the juices run clear.
- When the temperature reaches 180˚-185˚F/82˚-85˚ on your thermometer.
Here’s what to do when your Roast Chicken is in the oven
- Relax, read a book, go for a walk, call your Mom or Sister.
- About 30 minutes before the chicken is ready, go make some of EatingWell’s yummy Crushed Red Potatoes with Buttermilk. A serving of these spuds only has about 88 calories!
- We like our Roast Chicken with roast veggies like butternut squash, carrots, Brussels sprouts and onions. But generally speaking, they need to cook at a much higher temperature than the chicken. So if you’re going down this route, you may want to roast the veg to almost-but-not-quite done while your oven is very hot (before you put the chicken it). Then pop the veg into the microwave to heat them up just before serving.
- Can’t be bothered to fiddle around with roast veggie timing? Fine. Just steam some veggies. Green beans and carrots go great with Roast Chicken.
How to carve Roast Chicken
- Cut the drumsticks, thighs and wings off.
- Slice from the breastbone down and remove the white meat.
- It’s very easy when you use a sharp knife.
What else do you need to do?
- Well around these parts, the chickens are tiny – usually only about 2.5 pounds/1.2 kilos – so I always roast 2 or 3. That way we have plenty of leftovers.
- After your meal, remove any extra chicken from the carcasses and save the pretty pieces for a proper meal.
- After removing the bones and skin, pre-package the rest into freezer bags in the amounts you need for your favorite produce-a-meal-fast recipes. We like:
- Curried chicken salad pitas made with light mayo and fat-free plain yogurt, pears, celery, dried cranberries, some slivered almonds and alfalfa sprouts.
- Chicken tacos and fajitas.
- When we’re really in a hurry, nothing beats a kid pleaser BBQ Chicken Sandwich: mix 2 cups of shredded chicken with 1 cup of grated carrots and ½ cup of your favorite bottled barbecue sauce. Warming this chicken mix is optional, but we pop it into the microwave to heat it a bit and soften the carrots. Serve on a crusty bun with a fresh green salad. Fast as lightening and tasty, too!
What’s your favorite chicken recipe?