Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Roast Chicken: Or How I Learned To Get Past My Fears and Touch Raw Poultry

The Physicist and I have been enjoying roast chicken since the early years of our relationship. But my secret shame was that I was not the one making it. I could cook a mean boneless, skinless chicken breast, but when it came to roasting a whole bird, that was his territory. The thought of wrangling a whole bird, removing giblets, washing it out, patting it dry . . . *shudder*. Just not something I thought I could handle. So, at almost 7 years of marriage, I decided it was time for me to get over this fear. I'd learned to grill, why not this? The Physicist did assist me with the prepping of the bird, and I do wear food grade vinyl gloves the whole time, but I have hope that one day, I will be able to reach into that bird and pull out the giblets myself. Just not today. But here's how to roast a chicken.

You'll need:

3-4 lbs. Whole Chicken, giblets removed, rinsed out and off, patted dry

Salt and Pepper, in a small bowl

1 Lemon, halved

1 Head Garlic, cut in half crosswise

1 Bunch Fresh Herbs; Sage, Rosemary, Thyme

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil, in a small bowl

1 Onion, cut into wedges like an apple

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Place the chicken, breast side up, into a roasting pan, or oven safe pot big enough to hold it. Tuck it's tiny little arms under it. (The Physicist: "They're wings! Jeez!") Salt and pepper the cavity, then shove both halves of the lemon, both halves of the garlic, and the bunch of herbs in. Cram it all in there, you can do it. Close the little skin flaps over it, and secure 'em with toothpicks. Brush the whole bird with the olive oil.

Then massage the salt and pepper all over, into the skin and squeeze all the onion wedges around the bird.

The whole thing should look like the picture to the left. ("You can take off the gloves now.")

At this point, you can put it in the oven, and set a timer for about an hour and fifteen minutes. It might need more time than that, but a food thermometer into the thigh should read 160 degrees when it's done.

And it should look like this! This skin should be crisp and all golden, and the smell should be mouthwatering and slightly herbaceous. Fluid, when it's pierced with a fork, should run clear.

We did it! We roasted a chicken! We can do anything! (Except remove the giblets.)

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