Simple Roast Chicken

Roast chicken is one of the simplest dishes there is … and is one of the most incorrectly-cooked dishes there is. You don’t just rub the thing with salt, pepper and paprika and throw it in the oven till it’s almost black. I mean, sheesh, think about what yer cooking! 🙂 Here’s how it’s done. I cooked this yesterday evening, and Mary said it was the best roast chicken she’s ever had. What a coincidence … it was also the first one I’d ever cooked!

1 whole chicken, about 4 lbs
Kosher salt
Fresh-ground pepper
1/2 onion
1/2 lemon
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F. Trim all excess fat from the cavity openings on the chicken (leaving the tail skin), and cut the last section off each wing. Using paper towel, wipe down the entire chicken both inside and out. Rub butter generously throughout the bird’s cavity then the entire outer surfaces. Rub some salt and pepper on the outside. Skin the 1/2 onion, and place this and the 1/2 lemon inside the chicken. Turn the bird breast-side up, tuck the ends of the drumsticks into the tail skin, and place the chicken on a v-rack in a roasting pan. Gently lift the skin at the edge of each breast and slide a 1/8” pat of butter within each one.

Place the chicken on one side on the rack and put the pan in the oven. Baste frequently while roasting. Roast for 15 minutes on the first side, then rotate the bird to the other side and roast for another 15 minutes. Turn the chicken breast up and roast it for another hour. The chicken is done when you raise it above the pan drumstick ends-down and the juices run clear.

We had ours with a side of stuffing, and were also going to have whole cranberry sauce, but we forgot. Heck, I’ve been so tired I tried to unlock my office door with the Unlock button on the car’s key fob yesterday …


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  1. I just finished the leftovers from that roasted chicken for my lunch and it was fabulous even the second time around. The meat had a hint of the taste of the lemon and was so moist, because Dave watched the time on it very close. Dry chicken is pretty tastless. I MUST be the luckiest girl in the World!

  2. Lucky, Lucky, Lucky. Where is my sign “will work for food”? This sounds lke food I would work for. Would you like some pudding to go with meal?

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