31 Oct 2010 EST
- by Jessica Verderame, Assistant Editor
Roasting a chicken is one of the most deceptively easy ways to make an elegant family dinner. Though the idea of over or undercooking is intimidating, all you need is a decent meat thermometer and time for the chicken to rest to ensure a moist, well-cooked chicken. If carving the chicken is what you are intimidated by, there are plenty of video tutorials out there; don’t worry if the pieces don’t come out perfectly the first couple of times, because at least it will be delicious.
Another benefit of roasting a whole chicken is that it’s very cost effective. By purchasing a whole bird ($1.49/lb where I buy it), instead of the more popular boneless, skinless breasts ($3.49 where I buy it), you save $2/lb. One whole chicken can easily feed a family of four with leftovers, and saving the bones means that you can make a delicious homemade chicken stock (just freeze until ready to use).
To ensure a browned, crisp skin and moist meat, I rubbed a homemade rosemary compound butter under and all over the skin; to add extra flavor, I stuffed the cavity with lemon, onion, rosemary, and garlic. Roast potatoes, onions, and whole garlic cloves with the skins still on (to prevent burning) in the same pan as the chicken and you have a low maintenance dinner that everyone will love.
Roasted Chicken with Rosemary Butter
Ingredients - Serves 4:
1 whole chicken, about 7 lbs
Salt and pepper
½ stick butter
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped and divided, plus 3 large sprigs
1 lemon, quartered
1 small onion, quartered, plus 2 small onions, cut into chunks
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed, plus 5 garlic cloves, smashed but unpeeled
2 lbs small red potatoes, halved and quartered
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
½ cup chicken stock
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Toss the potatoes with 5 cloves unpeeled garlic, salt and pepper, 1 ½ tablespoons fresh rosemary, and olive oil. Put mixture in the bottom of a large roasting pan.
3. Remove heart and giblets from cavity of chicken. Pat chicken dry.
4. Make compound butter by combining butter with 1 ½ tablespoons of rosemary. Lift the skin of the chicken breast and legs, and liberally spread butter underneath. Spread the rest of the butter mixture all over the outside of the skin.
5. Stuff the cavity with quartered lemon, onion, rosemary sprigs, and 3 garlic cloves. Place chicken on top of the potato mixture. Place into middle rack of the preheated oven and roast for about an hour, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken thigh (away from the bone) reads 165 degrees.
6. Remove the chicken to a clean cutting board; let rest for 15 minutes, and the potatoes to a serving platter. Pour any drippings to a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add in a roughly equal part of flour (for me it was 1 ½ tablespoons), and stir until combined. Cook for about 2 minutes, then whisk in chicken broth until a sauce is formed.
7. When the chicken has rested, cut the chicken into serving pieces: 2 breast pieces, 2 leg pieces, 2 wings, and place onto serving platter. Serve with sauce on the side.