Every time I put a chicken in the oven to roast it takes me back to being a kid.
There's something so simple and nostalgic about roast chicken, that's probably why you'll still find some version of it on most restaurant menus.
What makes a great roast chicken in your book?
For me, it's a golden crispy skin and moist juicy meat on the inside. One of the best ways to get a great skin is prior to roasting lifting the skin away from the meat.
It's really easy to do, just put a few fingers between the breast meat and the skin and gently lift it up and away from the meat. Continue to do that all the way down the thigh and leg. When you have done that on both sides, poke a few small holes in the skin, one on each breast, thigh and legs.
This allows steam to escape during the cooking process. Since that skin has been lifted up it's the absolute best place to put more flavor in your bird! I lay very thinly sliced lemon from the breast all the way down to the legs as well as fresh herbs, I like rosemary, garlic and thyme. I only season with salt and pepper, the garlic butter, lemons and fresh herbs under the skin are the real flavor boosters. If you like other seasons feel free to add them.
One more of my favorites is to slice Yukon gold potatoes into thirds and lay them under the rack that you place the bird on. While the chicken is cooking the drippings make the most amazing potatoes you've ever tasted!
I often times spatchcock the chicken, that's simply just cutting the backbone away from the chicken and cracking the breast bone so the chicken lies flat. It shortens cooking time and that ensures a better chicken.
Lemon roast chicken
prep 15 minutes
cook time 1 hour
1 4-5 lb chicken
1 large or 2 small lemons sliced thin
a couple sprigs of rosemary and thyme (or any fresh herbs that you like)
2 cloves of garlic minced
3 Tb butter at room temp
6 medium Yukon gold potatoes
salt and pepper
Pre heat oven to 425.
Wash and thoroughly dry your chicken. Spatchcock it as described above, by cutting down each side of the back bone through the ribs to remove the backbone completely. With the breast facing down, place your palm on the breast bone and press down firmly to crack. Now the chicken should lie flat.
Lift the skin away from the meat and place a few small pricks in the skin.
Mix your butter with the minced garlic and rub under the skin all the way through to the leg. Now lay the lemon slices on top of the butter and then the herbs. Pull your skin so it's lying nicely, the lemons and herbs will look beautiful under the skin when cooked. Season the underside of the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Turn the chicken over and season the top side.
Drizzle a little olive oil in your roasting pan. (I like to use a large cookie sheet and a flat cooling rack on top) Lay the potato slices in the bottom of the pan place the rack over them and place your chicken on the rack. You could use butternut squash or brussel sprouts in addition to or in place of the potatoes.
Place in the center of the oven and cook for 1 hour or until a thermometer reaches 165 degrees.