Simple Roast Chicken

Everyone – whether they claim to be a cook or not – should know how to roast a chicken. It’s a basic life skill akin to changing a flat tire or sewing a button. Actually, I don’t know how to do either of those things. But did I mention that I can cook a chicken? A properly cooked chicken produces a result that’s good enough for a dinner party. I still believe the tastiest roast chicken in the world is Judy Rodger’s recipe, but it requires a bit of premeditation and advance planning that even I cannot muster most of the time. This recipe, a combination of many others I’ve tried, is a good second choice when in a pinch.

  • One 3-4 pound chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, cut into quarters
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Set the rack on the middle level.
  • Rinse the chicken inside and out under running water. Remove the giblets and the blob of fat found near the neck opening. I discard these parts, but if you are into making gravy (and you actually know how to make gravy) then save them. Maybe you can then tell me how to make gravy, which is nearly as daunting as preparing artichokes. But we were talking about a chicken, so back to that.
  • Pat the bird dry with a clean towel, then set it in a small roasting pan with the breast side up. Liberally salt and pepper the bird all over. Do not be afraid. Cover the meaty parts thoroughly and go lighter on the skinny parts, like the bony ankles. Be sure to salt and pepper the inside of the bird, too. I don’t know why, but every recipe seems to indicate that this is a good idea. So just do it. Maybe one day I’ll know why and when I do, you’ll be the first to know. Finally, stuff the cut lemon wedges and the garlic in the cavity through the neck opening.
  • Roast the chicken on the middle rack of the oven for about 50 minutes, or until the meat is just cooked and the juices run clear. The skin should be deeply browned and crispy. Remove the bird from the oven and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes before carving.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 50 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

One response to “Simple Roast Chicken”

  1. Nikki S. says:

    My husband said that this was the best roasted chicken he’s ever had! It was so easy, too. I think the lemons are the secret. The fact that my bird was fresh helped too, I’m sure. Very juicy. Great recipe.

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