Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Easiest {and Best} Roast Chicken Recipe

I have to share this recipe for roast chicken. It's ridiculously easy to make and the results are so delicious. Plus, roast chicken is a fabulous frugal dinner. On the first night, you enjoy the chicken hot from oven. After that, you can get all that's left (well, if there's any left) and use the leftovers in any recipe that calls for shredded chicken (I'll be using my leftovers for this recipe). To top it off, you can use the bones to make chicken stock.  Just the savings of making your own stock pretty much covers the cost of the chicken. What's not to love?

Anyway, here's the recipe for the easiest (and, in my opinion, the best) roast chicken ever...

Roast Chicken with Lemons

Serves 4

A 3- to 4-pound chicken
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 rather small lemons

Preheat the oven to 350.

Rinse the chicken thoroughly in cold water, both inside and out. After you've rinsed it, let the chicken sit for about 10 minutes on a slightly tilted plate so the water can drain from it. After the 10 minutes, pat it dry with cloth or paper towels. Wash the lemons in cold water and dry with a towel.


Sprinkle a generous amount of salt and pepper on the chicken, rubbing it in with your fingers over all its body and into its cavity.

Soften each lemon by rolling it back and forth with your palm on the countertop, applying a good amount of pressure as you do so.


Poke the lemon with a sturdy toothpick, skewer, trussing needle, fork, or something of the like. Poke at least 20 holes in each lemon. Put both lemons inside of the bird's cavity.

Close up the opening with toothpicks or skewers (see picture below to see how I did it) or, if you're feeling fancy, with a trussing needle and string. The recipe says to close it well, but not so that it's completely airtight because it could make the chicken burst. I don't know about you, but whenever I come to that part in the recipe, I can't help but laugh. It's just a funny mental picture for me. Okay, moving on...

With kitchen string, tie the legs together by running the string from one leg to the other, tying it at both knuckle ends. Leave the legs in their natural position without pulling too tight. If the skin is unbroken, according to the recipe, the chicken will puff up as it cooks. Don't let this stress you out though -- even if you do break the skin, the flavor will not be affected. It's mostly just for the presentation of the thing.

Put the chicken in a roasting pan (I use my cast-iron skillet when I make this and it works great), breast facing down. Here's the thing I love about this recipe: you don't have to add any cooking fat because the chicken bastes itself. It doesn't stick to the pan and it stays moist without any effort on your part. Place pan (or skillet) into the upper third of the preheated oven.

After 30 minutes, turn the chicken over so the breast is facing up. Again, try to not break or puncture the skin -- but if you do, don't worry too much about it. Cook the chicken for another 30-35 minutes.

After the 30-35 minutes is up, turn the oven up to 400 degrees and cook for 20 minutes more. You don't need to turn the chicken again. The total cooking time for this recipe is between 20-25 minutes per pound.

After the 20 minutes are up, take the chicken out and enjoy. You can either carve it into nice slices or make like a carnivore and pick at it like we usually do. Be sure to spoon the juices at the bottom of the pan all over the chicken before you eat it, too -- completely delicious. Serve it with a nice side salad and you've got a frugal meal that doesn't taste frugal.  Trust me, you'll be surprised what some salt, pepper, and a couple lemons can do.

4 comments:

Heather Dixon said...

This makes me hungry just reading it

StrivingSimply said...

That's pretty close to what I do. I put root vegetables, onion, and thyme in the bottom of the pan on which the chicken rests. I also add a head of garlic cut in half (so that you cut through each clove) and a bunch of thyme in the cavity. It's SOOO tasty.

The gravy off of it is the best part. Pull all the root vegetables out except for some onions, and puree the onions and juice in a blender with flour and cream. OMGosh is it amazing!

Betsy (Eco-novice) said...

We have a lemon tree so I definitely need to try this one.

Heather said...

There are no words for how jealous I am of your lemon tree.

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