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Perfect Roast Chicken

Contributed By: June, NJ | See all of June's recipes
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Active Time:  15 Minutes
Total Time:  1 Hour 45 Minutes
  6 Servings
I love Roast Chicken, and make one at least once a month. There are very few occasions where it wouldn't be a great dish to serve. You can dress it up or down with sides. It's kind of like the little black dress of the culinary world.
1 free-range roasting chicken (4 to 6 pounds)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Several cloves of plump fresh garlic
several sprigs of fresh thyme
one stalk of celery
1 fresh lemon, poked 20 times all over with a skewer
1/2 cup cold water or white wine (to baste the chicken)
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Start by rinsing the chicken inside and out with cold running water. Drain it well and dry inside and out with paper towels. Make a mixture of about 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper and 1 tablespoon of coarse sea salt in a small bowl. Place the bowl alongside the Revol roasting pan. Put the olive oil in the pan and distribute evenly. You will also need a 3-foot length of kitchen string.

2. Remove the wing tips and reserve for the stock pot. Put the garlic into the chicken cavity along with the herbs. Add the celery and the lemon. You may have to give it a shove to get it inside. Truss the chicken with the kitchen string . (See tips below).

3. Put the chicken into the pan and turn to coat well with the olive oil. Roll the chicken in the olive oil and end up with the chicken tail up in the pan. Place the pan on a rack in the center of the oven and roast, uncovered, for 35 minutes. Baste the chicken with the water and roast for another 25 minutes. Baste again ­ this time with the juices in the pan. Raise the temperature to 425 degrees F. and turn the chicken belly up. Roast for another 30 minutes. This will take a total of 90 minutes roasting time. By this time the skin should be a deep golden color. The best way to be sure the chicken is cooked to the proper temperature is to insert a digital thermometer probe into the inside of the thigh of the chicken when you turn it over. The thermometer should be set to alert you when the temperature reaches 155 degrees F. The bird will continue to cook as it rests, and will easily reach the desired 165 degrees F.

4. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the chicken to a warmed platter on which you have placed an overturned salad plate. Place the chicken at an angle against the edge of the plate with its tail in the air. (This retains moisture because the juices flow down through the breast meat.) Cover the chicken loosely with foil. Let it rest for at least 10 minutes or up to 30 minutes. The chicken will continue to cook as it rests.

Teacher’s Tips:

Truss with string. What does this mean, and why is this step important?

In this step, you will take one long piece of kitchen twine and wrap it around the seasoned chicken, tying it around the base of the legs. This helps the chicken to keep its shape while cooking. The result is a more evenly cooked, more attractive bird to present on a platter.

Use a digital thermometer. This is the most accurate way to gauge the doneness of your chicken. Insert the probe into the inside of the top thigh after you turn your bird to the other side.

Let the chicken rest. Placing the chicken with its tail up promotes much of the juice flowing into the breast, to ensure moist, tender meat. This is a tip I learned from noted author and teacher, Patricia Wells, who got it from Joel Robuchon, arguably the top chef in the world. (I’m not going to argue with him!)

Date Added: 01/26/2010
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