I’m turning 25 on Friday and I’ve never roasted a whole chicken… Wait, what?! I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never roasted a whole chicken in all my years of cooking. How can I have any real credibility if I’ve never made something as classic as roast chicken? Well with my entry to the quarter-life club looming all too close, I decided it was high time I officially transition into adulthood by roasting a chicken.
I’m not sure why it’s taken me 25 years to make a roast chicken. I guess there are several excuses I told myself: 1. Giblets. Ew; 2. My oven is so wonky, it will never cook evenly; 3. Roast chicken is what moms make for Sunday dinner. I’m too cool and hip for roast chicken! As I leave the 18-24 age bracket and enter the 25-34 group (why does the range get so much wider??!), I realized it was time to stop making excuses and just do it.
When it comes to trying something new, I turn to my idol/imaginary grandmother: Ina Garten. If I’m going to listen to anyone when it comes to something as classic as roast chicken (she makes it every Friday night for Jeffrey after all!), it’s gotta be Ina.
And of course I was surprised how easy and not scary it really was! Luckily the giblets came in a little plastic package inside the chicken, so straight to the garbage they went. Rinse the chicken with water, pat dry, brush with butter and season with lots of salt and pepper – I can do that! Stuff with some garlic, lemon, and thyme, then roast for about an hour over some carrots, fennel, and onions – this is what I’ve been so afraid of? Now I see why moms love it! Minimal prep, minimal active cooking time – drink some wine! watch some TV! – and minimal clean-up.
While I still need a lesson from Ina in carving the chicken after it’s been cooked (see my somewhat messy job in the pictures), this not-so-spring chicken is ready to tackle whatever challenges and recipes come her way!
1 4-5 pound roasting chicken
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 head garlic, sliced crosswise
1 lemon, cut into quarters
2 bunches of thyme springs
1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
1 fennel bulb, fronds removed and cut into wedges
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Line a roasting pan or baking sheet with tinfoil. Arrange carrots, onions and fennel in an even layer in the bottom of the pan. Toss with a bunch of thyme sprigs and a glug or two of olive oil. Set aside.
3. Remove the giblets from the inside of the chicken and any remaining fat. Rinse the inside and outside of the chicken with water. Dry thoroughly with paper towels. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with garlic, lemon and the other bunch of thyme. Brush the entire chicken with melted butter and season again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with chicken twine and tuck the wing tips under the body.
4. Place chicken in the pan on top of vegetables and roast for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours depending on the size of your chicken. When a meat thermometer reads about 165 degrees (inserted between the hip and thigh), it’s done! Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with tinfoil. Let rest for about 20 minutes before carving.