This is a recipe for beginner cooks. I will not give you exact times or measurements for this recipe. What you need to know is that roasting is cooking with dry heat at high temperatures; this allows for the searing of the juices inside the chicken—that means it traps the moisture so the meat will not be dry—and for the browning of the skin—this means that it will be crisp and brown. The method is easy.
1 chicken (2 ½ to 3 pounds)
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoon pepper
1 lemon or lime
1 rosemary sprig
2 tablespoons softened butter (that means it is at room temperature, not melted)
Instant read thermometer (these are special cooking thermometers; find them in kitchen supply stores. Do not use any other kind of thermometer!)
Turn oven on to 400˚ Fahrenheit—follow your oven’s instruction manual. Wash the chicken under cool running water and make sure to remove any giblets—the innards of the chicken which are often found in a plastic bag inside the cavity of the chicken--checking the neck cavity too, as sometimes the neck is left there. Discard the giblets. After the chicken has been rinsed pat dry the chicken well with paper towels. You will want the skin to be completely dry, so that it browns properly. In a small plate, combine about 1 tablespoon of salt with 1 teaspoon of pepper; rub this mixture on the chicken—in and out. You measure these first, because you don’t want to contaminate the salt with your already contaminated chicken hands. Take a lime, or lemon, and prick it with a fork 3-4 times. Then insert this whole lemon or lime into the cavity of the chicken. Take the sprig of rosemary and place it inside the chicken, with the lime or lemon. Take the butter, and using your fingers, rub it over the entire chicken. Place the chicken breast side up—when the breast is looking up the wings are at the bottom of the pan—inside a roasting pan. Set the roasting pan in the oven and close the oven door shut. Roast the chicken—do not open the door—for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Check the internal temperature by inserting the instant read thermometer into the thickest side of the chicken thigh—it’s the part of the chicken attached to the drumstick—and make sure you don’t touch the bone—for accurate temperature reading, so relax. If you touch the bone, simply remove and reinsert the thermometer. When the thermometer reads 180 degrees Fahrenheit, you may remove the chicken from the oven. The skin of the chicken should be a beautiful golden color and it should be crispy. Let the chicken sit at room temperature for 15 minutes—this is called letting it “rest” and it is done in order to allow those juices that you worked so hard to keep in the chicken, from escaping once your carve it. Remove the chicken from the roasting pan, transfer it to a serving platter and carve.
Note: A trick for knowing when the chicken is done if you don’t have an instant read thermometer is to insert a toothpick in the thickest part of the thigh and remove it—there will be juices flowing from the little whole. If the juices are transparent your chicken is done. If the juices are still tinted with pink, the chicken needs more cooking.
©Copyright Sandra A. Gutierrez 2007. All Rights Reserved.