If the news this week leaves you in need of a little comfort, I have the easiest, most delicious roast chicken recipe for you – ultimate comfort food. I’ve realized there are some who feel a little wary of roasting chicken, so I’m going to break it down to show how easy it is.
If you want to impress your dinner guests, I suggest going with a whole chicken. They’re not expensive – about $5 or so at Aldi – and you look like a pro pulling it out of the oven! Otherwise, I usually grab a pack of bone-in chicken thighs to have about once a week. At $1.19/lb at Aldi, I’m able to make dinner for about $4 or $5 including the veggies and potatoes.
First, preheat your oven to 425°. Then, I like to get all of my ingredients ready to go because I hate having to wash my hands every time I need to pick up a utensil or grab an ingredient. I pour a generous portion of salt into a tiny bowl, add about half that amount of pepper and sometimes I add garlic and onion powder as well. If you’re a nut for measurements, this must be wildly unhelpful, but just stick with me here. We have thyme growing on the patio, so I snip off about 5 or 6 stems and pull off the leaves. You can use ground thyme or rosemary or sage if you want. It’s good to have some kind of herb though. So, I add my thyme to my spice bowl and mix it all up. Then I melt about 2 tablespoons of butter (grab your basting brush so it’s ready) and cut up a lemon into six wedges.
I use a roasting pan, but you can use almost anything to roast your chicken, including corning ware, a clear Pyrex pan…pretty much anything with an edge (so, not a cookie sheet). It needs to be big enough to hold your chicken and veggies comfortably. I spray it down with canola spray and then open up the chicken and place the pieces evenly on the pan.
I start by pulling up the skin and seasoning it with the spice mix rubbing it under the skin and on the bottom. Then I season the skin and flip all of the pieces over. I brush the bottom side with butter and give it a squirt of the lemon juice. Flip and do the same under the skin and then finally on top. I typically use about three lemon wedges to squirt over the chicken and then throw all six pieces in with the chicken. If you are squeamish, just pretend like you’re not and get the seasoning part over as fast as possible. When I started seasoning chicken it kinda freaked me out, but now I just think of how tasty it will be. It’s important to season the actual chicken and not just the skin – although it’s incredibly delicious, let’s face it, you finish that part in two bites.
Next, I chop up about three potatoes into wedges. Put them in a bowl, add about two capfuls of canola oil, a generous sprinkling of salt and some pepper and then mix it all up. Add the potatoes around and between the chicken. Pop the pan into the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes. I use canola oil because it gets hotter than olive oil and makes the veggies a bit crisper.
While that’s starting to roast, I chop up some carrots and put them in the same bowl the potatoes were in and season them the same way. When the timer goes off, add them on top and around the chicken as well and put it all back in the oven for about 30 to 45 minutes. I have learned that carrots will char and no one will eat them if you put them in with the chicken and potatoes at the start.
Now, did you catch what we did there? It’s a one-pot-dish! At this point, you have one bowl to wash and one roasting pan when it’s all said and done. As the primary dishwasher of the family, this fires me up.
Roasting a whole chicken is really similar, you basically do the same thing but you also stuff the inside with garlic and lemons. I use Ina Garten’s recipe, it’s really easy and comes out sublime.
And another thing…I looked up the difference between roasting and baking (because let’s face it, ovens have a “bake” button, not a “roast” button) and it boils down to temperature. It’s considered roasting if the temperature is above 400°. The other difference is that when you roast, your material is already a set structure (like chicken) while baking involves food that lacks structure and and then become solid (like a cake). Just some food for thought 🙂