Until this past Sunday, I had never roasted a chicken before. The funny thing is, growing up, roast chicken was one of my favorite dinners -- particularly when all the fixings (mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing) were involved. Perhaps because a meal of roast chicken is like Thanksgiving-lite. Not a total all-out celebratory dinner, but one that is super-satisfying none the less. Halfway through college I adopted a vegetarian diet, which I maintained for a decade, so I guess you could say I missed out on my formative cooking-a-whole-chicken-by-myself years. And though I've eaten turkey for the past few Thanksgivings, D has always happily accepted roasting duty.
Truth be told, the main reason why I wanted to cook a roast chicken is because I have been craving homemade chicken noodle soup, and everyone knows that you need to start with a homemade broth if you want to do it right. So, after successfully roasting my first chicken (there were only a few dark moments when I wondered if my chicken breasts would ever come up to the proper temperature), it looks like I will have homemade chicken noodle soup on the menu sometime later this week!
Roast Chicken (adapted from this Martha Stewart recipe)
makes 4 servings
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
1 4-6-pound roasting chicken
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, cut into quarters
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and gently smashed
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1. Remove the chicken from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Set a wire rack in your roasting pan. Place the onion slices in two rows down the center of the wire rack, making sure to overlap the slices.
3. Remove the giblets (if any) from the chicken and then rinse off the entire chicken, including the cavity, with cold running water. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
4. Generously salt and pepper the cavity of the chicken. Insert the lemon wedges, smashed garlic cloves, and fresh thyme into the cavity of the chicken.
5. Place the wings underneath the bird, and then place it leg-side up on the rows of onions in the roasting pan. Pull the chicken's legs forward, cross them, and then tie them with a short length of kitchen twine. Rub the outside of the chicken with the softened butter. Season generously with salt and pepper.
6. Roast in the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until the juices run clear and a meat thermometer inserted into the breast reads 180 degrees, and inserted into the thigh reads 190 degrees.
7. Once fully cooked, remove the chicken from the oven, and place it on a cutting board to rest for 10-15 minutes. Then, untie the legs, remove the lemon, garlic, and thyme from the cavity, carve, and serve.