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Thursday, February 16, 2012
Roasting a chicken can sound overwhelming and just plain hard if you are a beginner in the kitchen. I remember in my early days of learning to cook that I wouldn't even try! If whole chickens were on sale, I wouldn't know the first thing to do with it! So I thought I'd share how I do it for those of you just getting to know the kitchen.
Sometimes whole chickens (also called fryers in some places) will go on sale. The one I cooked here was only $5!! They can be frozen, of course, so if you have freezer room, stock up when they are that cheap! You will then need to let it thaw in the fridge for a good day or two, depending on the size. Mine was a little over 5 pounds and took a good two days to thaw in the fridge.
A very important thing you should know if you have never cooked a whole chicken (and all of this applies to roasting a turkey as well which I posted about here!) is it will usually come with some weird things stuffed inside. Gizzards, the neck, and all kind of gross things. Some people like to cook these things. Those people are not my friends. Pull all of that out and throw it away, please and thank you.
Prepare the bird. OK, some people say to rinse the bird and pat it dry. Some people say not to because of bacteria or whatever. I usually do. Do what you want!
Preparing the bird is not as difficult as you think! It's very simple to get a nice moist chicken with lots of flavor!
Rub the bird down with butter or olive oil or...ahem...both. I like to make sure my roasting pan is coated so it doesn't stick. I will then rub the bird with butter and diced garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper. You can also sprinkle with other seasonings, throw in some fresh herb sprigs, whatever floats your boat! Here I used some Italian seasoning. For extra flavor, try to rub some butter under the skin too. YUM. I also like to sprinkle some lemon juice on it as well.
You can cook the bird alone if you like. I prefer to roast mine with potatoes, onions, and carrots. You can add any kind of veggies. If a veggie is tasty roasted, it's tasty roasted with a chicken! This will also make for some extra delicious juices in the bottom of the pan. Season your veggies and drizzle with olive oil or spats of butter as well.
Bake at 350 degrees uncovered. It should take about 20-25 minutes per pound. Since mine was a little over 5 pounds, I knew it would take at least 2-2 1/2 hours. Baste the chicken with the juices at the bottom of the pan during cooking. If you don't have a baster, just use a spoon! Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature by placing in the fattest part of the bird. Poultry is fully cooked at around 170 degrees.
Let the chicken sit for a good 5-10 minutes before carving into it. I like to serve it over rice with all of those tasty juices. Serving over rice makes the meal go even further!
What I love about this meal is that I can get a good three meals out of it. I'll serve it over rice for one night and eat the leftovers the next day and still have enough chicken to throw into a pot pie another night that week!
See? It's not that hard at all! Go ahead and buy some chickens on sale and have some fun with it! You'll get plenty of meat off if it to last at least two or three meals. Have fun and enjoy!