Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Roast Chicken and all of the trimmings

Ma manan Poulet Rôti.  My mother's favourite chicken.  This is what I made the other night, and it was nothing short of heavenly.  Seriously, no one wanted to stop eating!  I am excited to share the recipe with you, because I think that you'll like it, too.

Why, you ask?  Well, for one, it is light on your wallet.  These whole birds are often on sale at my local grocery stores, and they are worth every dollar for the pound.  The preparation is also very easy; your oven essentially does all of the cooking for you!

Without further ado, my mother's scrumptious Roast Chicken. (Though, I confess, when asked what I was serving, I couldn't resist replying, "Roast BEAST", with such confidence in my voice that they nearly believed me.  It's a Doctor Seuss reference, but I digress...)

Linda's Roasted Chicken

Yields: Roughly 4-5 servings, depending on the size of the chicken

  • 1 roasting chicken (5-7 pounds -- I cooked two in a roasting pan; firstly, they were buy-one-get-one free, secondly, this was dinner for my family with healthy appetites, and thirdly, no one in their right mind would refuse these leftovers...)
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-4 T. finely chopped fresh rosemary (this really tastes best with the fresh kind, but if you don't have any on hand, use dried rosemary.  Also, start with around 2 T. and see how much you need for the size bird you're cooking.  I "eyeball" with this one, because you can't go wrong with rosemary.)
  • Sea salt (again, assess the size of the bird(s) and go from there...)
  • Plenty of freshly ground black pepper

You can also add other ingredients like lemon, lemon juice, and put whole garlic cloves under the skin of the chicken (but this may add steam -- see step #4 below).
As for side dishes?  Steamed vegetables.  Herb salad with a creamy ranch dressing or mustard vinaigrette.  As you can see, I baked fries to go with the chicken (but we were out of Russets and Yukon Gold potatoes, so I used reds).  Martha's Oven Fries (or her Salt & Pepper Fries) are my favourite.  Trust me, you'll have a difficult time staying away from them!


  1. Start by turning the oven on to 450°F.
  2. Remove the chicken from its wrapping. You'll need to thoroughly wash and dry the bird in the sink before anything else.  This part is kind of actually really disgusting, so don't ponder it too much, OK (the only thought running through my head was how thankful I was not to have to kill and de-feather the bird as well... Whew!)?  Besides that, we are women.  We are child bearers, which means we're strong.  We can do this -- woman up! (If you tell yourself that while you're working, it gets easier and your mind will be distracted in no time.  Or, you could put on some music!)
  3. Moving on (because I am obviously past the there-is-a-squishy/slippery-dead-animal-in-my-hands fact... Obviously!), make sure you dry the bird completely (inside and out).  Place it in a roasting pan, and add the seasonings.  Once they're on, rub them in a bit.  
  4. Before putting it into the oven, make sure you don't have the lid on.  This will create steam, which defeats the purpose of roasting.  My mum recommends Thomas Keller's Favourite Roast Chicken recipe on Epicurious, where he explains about the whole roasting process.
  5. Pop the pan in the oven (sans lid), for about an hour, maybe more (you will want to occasionally check it).  For instructions on how long to roast the chicken, read this forum thread, consult this chart, or Google "roasting a whole chicken".
  6. Use a meat thermometer to find out if the meat is done cooking.  It should be 175-180° in the thickest part of the bird (try poking the thermometer into the thigh area).

See?  Proof of its delectableness.  Don't mind a very hungry Wimbledon here... My mother did give us etiquette lessons in table manners, but I think he needs reminding (more like scolding?)!

In case that photo on the far right didn't scare you enough, here it is again.  Positively FRIGHTENING!

"He brought everything back, all the food for the feast. And he, he himself, the Grinch, carved the roast beast."

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