Roasting a chicken looks very impressive but really isn’t that hard at all. I’d always been scared of cooking poultry because of the chance that it might come out dry and flavorless, but I watched a few YouTube videos on chicken roasting before I began. The first one I watched was Chef Thomas Keller’s explanation of how to roast a chicken (taken from No Reservations: Technique Special), and the second was Chef Ludo Lefebvre’s video in conjunction with Bugaboo. I trussed my chicken according to TK’s instruction, and buttered up my chicken per Ludo. The key to getting a beautifully browned and crispy skin? Basting in butter and juices.
If you want to get fancy, you can brine your chicken overnight, which will help with the flavor – but it isn’t necessary! Also, you can get creative with the herbs and spices you use to flavor your bird, but my favorite is still rosemary-lemon-thyme.
Basic Roast Chicken
a whole chicken, about 4 lbs, brought to room temperature
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme
1 lemon, quartered
3 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
3 cloves of garlic, peeled & smashed
1/2 stick butter, room temperature
1-2 T olive oil
butcher’s twine to truss
cast iron skillet or roasting pan
Preheat your oven to 425F.
Make sure to remove the packet of innards from the chicken, if there is one! Next, use paper towels to thoroughly dry your chicken. Salt and pepper the cavity, and then add the unpeeled garlic, a sprig of rosemary and one of thyme, and 2 pieces of lemon. Truss your chicken – this helps to make the chicken even in thickness so that it cooks evenly. Using your hands, spread half of the butter evenly over the skin of the chicken. Make sure to get in all the nooks and crevices. Generously salt and pepper the outside – the salt helps form a nice crust, so don’t be shy with it.
In the cast iron skillet, add a couple sprigs of rosemary and thyme, the smashed garlic cloves, the other two lemon wedges, the remaining butter and olive oil. Set the chicken on top of it all, and put it in the oven. After 15 minutes, start basting your chicken with the drippings. You will repeat this every 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through – approximately one hour for 4 lbs.
Want to see the videos? Check below!