Right before Borders Book store closed its door in our area, I bought Mindy Fox’s A Bird In The Oven And Then Some which shows 20 different ways to roast “the perfect chicken”. I chose this simple recipe to make dinner the other night because its simple ingredient list – one bird, a few sprigs of herbs, salt and pepper. Her focus for this recipe is “technique-driven” rather than “ingredient-driven”. Perfect for me because I want to learn how to roast a tasty chicken without depending solely on a long list of ingredients to make food taste good.
In this recipes, she uses the following techniques to yield a crispy-skinned chicken: (1) thoroughly dry the bird, either overnight on a rack in the refrigerator or paper towel dry the bird before baking (2) use salt for flavoring and to reduce moisture. (3) no butter is needed because the chicken fat will help crisped skin. ( I did snugged in a bit of butter under the skin. Cannot help it…got a soft spot for butter ) As promised, this recipe did produce a tasty, crispy-skinned chicken for dinner that night. My family loves it!
- 1 (4 pound) whole chicken (butterflied, optional)
- 4 sprigs of herbs (rosemary, thyme, and marjoram)
- Coarse sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of cold butter cubed (optional)
Preparing the bird*:
- Remove fat around cavities of the chicken and discard. Rinse the chicken and dry the bird inside and out.
- With the bird breast side down, using a kitchen scissor or knife cut along the side of the backbone. Gently pull open the bird.
- Remove the backbone by cutting along the other side of backbone. Save that part to make stock. (Or if you don’t want to make stock and don’t want to waste any part of the chicken. Just belly side up the bird and cut through the breasts.)
- Then turn the breast side up, with the cavity of the bird facing down flat, press firmly on the breast to break the breastbone so to completely flatten the chicken.
- Slip a finger under the skin and gently loosen the skin from the meat throughout the whole chicken (especially the thigh and breasts area).
- Carefully tuck the herb sprigs throughout the spaces between the loosen skin and meat that you loosen up. Do this gently so you won’t tear the skin.
- Optional: Cut 2 tablespoons of cold butter into small cubes and insert them into those spaces.
- Generously sprinkle 2 tablespoons of coarse sea salt all over the skin-side of the bird and season with black pepper.
Preheat oven too 425 degrees F with the rack in the middle. Total roasting time is 60 minutes to 75 minutes.
- Heat a 10 inch oven-proof skillet or roasting pan for 15 minutes,
- Remove the hot skillet or pan from the oven and immediately place the bird in the pan with breast-side up, and place it back into the oven.
- Roast for 15 minutes at 425 degree F, then lower oven temperature to 350 degree F and continue to roast for 30 more minutes.
- Turn the pan half-way, once, and cook for another 30 minutes or until the juice of chicken is clear.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let the bird rest for 10 minutes before cutting the bird and plating.
Serve this crispy-skinned chicken with mashed potato or baguette and roasted roots…and don’t forget a glass of wine!
* Note: I consulted Williams-Sonoma Tools and Techniques on Butterflying Chicken. The original recipe does not involve butterflying the chicken.