Roast ChickenEvery day, I approach dinner in one of two ways.  I can start with the boy-I’m-in-the-mood-for method.  Or, I can use the survey-the-pantry-and-fridge method.  Both can make equally tasty dishes.  Which method I chose is often a factor of how prepared I am.  (The “survey” method tends to be my go-to when I’ve procrastinated.)

Today isn’t one of those days, though.  It’s cold and windy out.  The skies are gray.  And, I knew last night what I wanted to make for dinner tonight:  roast chicken.

There are few things in life more comfortably satisfying on a blustery winter’s night than a properly roasted chicken.  It’s almost magical.  So, I pulled a whole chicken out of the freezer yesterday and let it defrost in the refrigerator.  (Safety tip:  Never, ever let poultry defrost on the countertop.  Food bacteria can grow at temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit.)

How one goes about roasting a chicken is a pretty straightforward process = bird+hot oven+time.

That’s really just the headline, though.  The real story is more complex, and much more interesting.  Do you want the chicken stuffed or not?  If stuffed, with what?  Do you want to put herbs under the skin to infuse the meat with flavors?  Or, do you want to put some in the cavity?  What should you put on the skin – bacon, butter, oil, salt & pepper?  To baste, or not to baste?  And this is the fun of cooking.  Try out different methods and see what you like best.

For me, on a cold winter’s night, I like to be reminded of warm summer days.  And a Mediterranean spice palate does the job better that most anything else.  So, what does that mean?  Well, rosemary for one thing.  And, I like how the astringent flavor of the herb works with chicken.  Lemon also whispers of sunny Provencal afternoons.  Garlic, of course.  So there we have it – lemon, rosemary and garlic.

“Enough with the chatter already, Pop”, I hear you saying.  “Get on with it!”  So, here we go:

Roast Chicken

4-5 lbs chicken, whole

5 cloves of garlic, peeled

1 lemon

1 Tbsp dried rosemary

1 Tbsp olive oil

Kosher salt 

Ground black pepper

3-4 medium russet potatoes

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Slice lemon in half lengthwise.  Cut one half of the lemon into wedges.  

Rinse the chicken inside and out.  Place in roasting pan.  Stuff cavity with garlic, lemon wedges, and rosemary.  Place the other half of the lemon in the cavity opening.

Use paper towel to pat outside of the chicken dry.  Brush 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the chicken.  Salt and pepper outside of the chicken.

Place chicken in oven.  

Cut potatoes into bite sized pieces.  Once the chicken’s been cooking for 30 minutes, add the potatoes to the roasting pan.  Lower heat to 375 and continue to cook for 30 minutes.  With a large spoon, stir the potatoes around a bit.  Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness.  Chicken must be cooked to an internal temperature of 180 degrees – without hitting a bone, insert the thermometer into the chicken breast and again into the thigh.  

A 4-5 pound chicken should take about 90 minutes.