Monday, September 19, 2011

Simple Roasted Chicken

Yes it's true! You can have a roasted chicken done in about an hour, on a weeknight, and have time to make a side dish! If I told you how easy this method is (not to mention how amazingly delicious), you probably wouldn't believe me. But here it is: Olive oil, salt, pepper, skillet, and your oven. That's all!

And the chicken of course. This fabulous recipe is from my favorite genius cooks at Cook's Illustrated. They tested countless methods to give us the best technique to roast a chicken without 24 hours of brining and planning. You would not believe how much flavor this little bird packed. And underneath that crispy golden skin? Tender, juicy breast meat that will have even dark-meat loyalists reaching for a second taste. Seriously, you have to try this recipe!

But don't throw away that carcass! After lunch, I picked off all the remaining chicken and set it aside. I then put the carcass, half an onion, a few garlic cloves, carrots, and rosemary in a pot. Covered it with water and let it simmer for 90 minutes to make stock. After straining and cooling, I skimmed the fat. As you're reading this, I have Southwestern chicken chili made with the extra chicken and stock waiting for me in the slow cooker. Yum!

A few notes: you may notice that the bird's legs are held together with a foil "rope." I did not have kitchen twine so I improvised and it worked perfectly! Also, the magazine offered a pan sauce but we didn't like the taste of it, and this chicken is perfectly delicious on it's own. One more thing, I didn't read correctly and covered my chicken while it was resting. This took away some of that crispy skin on top and made it kind of deflate as you can see in the photo. So keep your chicken uncovered while it is resting and all will be well. :)

Simple Roasted Chicken
Prep: 10 minutes / Cook: 50-70 minutes / Rest: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1 (3-1/2 to 4 pound) whole chicken, giblets discarded
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Place a 10 or 12-inch oven-safe skillet on the middle rack and preheat oven to 450 degrees (I used my 10-inch cast iron skillet).

2. Combine salt and pepper. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Rub entire chicken (top and bottom) with oil. Sprinkle salt mixture evenly over entire chicken. Tie legs together with twine or foil and tuck wing tips underneath bird.

3. Remove the skillet from the oven and transfer chicken to skillet, breast side up (it will sizzle!).  Place in oven and roast for 25-35 minutes, until breast meat registers 120 degrees and thighs read 135 degrees.

4. Turn oven OFF and leave chicken in the oven for 25-35 minutes, until breast meat reaches 160 degrees and thighs reach 175 degrees.

5. Transfer chicken to carving board and let rest, uncovered, for 20 minutes. You can use this time to prepare a side dish. Carve chicken and serve.

Print Recipe

Recipe source: adapted from Cook's Illustrated

Additional information:

This method works for several reasons. Preheating the skillet allows you to sear the thighs, giving them a head start from the breast meat. Turning off the oven halfway through helps the chicken's exterior cool rapidly, eliminating evaporation of all those precious juices. Heat inside the chicken will continue to cook the chicken until it reaches a safe temperature.

To check the temperature:
Breast: insert thermometer low into the thickest part of the breast, just above the bone. Withdraw slowly and check for the lowest temperature.

Thigh: Insert thermometer into the space betwen the breast and thigh. Angle probe outward slightly to pierce the meat in the lower part of the thigh.

Information from Cook's Illustrated September/October 2011

My Review

  • Preparation: 5
    • So simple!!
  • Taste: 5
    • Unbelievably good!
  • Cost: 4-5
    • Depending on whether you choose organic or regular.
  • Clean-up: 5
    • One skillet!
  • Changes
    • None for me!
  • Summary
    • This recipe is too simple and amazing to pass up!
Linked with Mingle Monday


    1. Stopping by from Mingle Monday. What a great chicken recipe! So simple. Can't wait to try it!

    2. I always undercook my roast chicken. This approach is worth a try. Thanks!

    3. Another great and easy recipe. The chili sounded good too. I'm impressed as always!