October weather makes me think of Thanksgiving, which makes me think of turkey, which makes me worried I’ll not be practiced enough for roasting a turkey at Thanksgiving, which reminds me I ought to practice roasting a couple of chickens, which is fine because it’s only October, which makes me think of …
Yep. You get the point. I can’t stop thinking about Christmas.
Still, let’s not forget our chicken. Everyone should know how to roast a simple chicken. (Although I’ve met a few clever ones in my day, too.)
You can search online and find a million opinions as to the right temperature, procedure and positioning, but ultimately, it comes down to one thing:
You want a juicy, succulent bird, but only on the inside. The outside should be crisp. I play on the same team as the folks who tell you to keep the oven door shut, leave the bird in peace and stop interfering with your pretty pastry brush. Don’t baste. You’ll end up giving your bird a shvitz. Go read a magazine or call your mother.
This is a simple recipe, and one you can adapt a thousand ways depending upon your herb and spice preference. Today, we’ll do a rub. Next week, maybe you can try halved lemons, onions and fresh herbs. The week after that, you’re on your own. No worries, I promise. Anybody can roast a chicken. This ain’t rocket surgery.
1 4-5lb. Whole chicken
2 Tblsp. Olive oil
1 Tblsp. Garlic powder
1 Tblsp. Smoked paprika
1 Tblsp. Dried French thyme
1 Tblsp. Aleppo pepper
1 Tblsp. Salt
1 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Oregano
1 tsp. Dried onion
Wash and pat dry your chicken with paper towels. Place in a roasting pan. Rub with olive oil.
Combine your spices in a small bowl, then lavishly spread evenly over the entire chicken (inside and out).
Place the chicken, uncovered, for anywhere from 4 hours to overnight in the fridge.
Bring your chicken out for an hour to get closer to room temperature. Meanwhile, prep any other veg that may be tagging along for the roasting ride (potatoes, onions, carrots). In the spring, I planted two tiny twigs of thyme. Now, they’re bushes that rival the size of a VW bug. Therefore, it’s trimming time. I’ll be placing my chicken on a comfy herb bed and surrounding it with the vegetables mentioned above.
Preheat your oven to 450° F.
Truss your bird (wings and legs are close to the body and the ends of the drumsticks are tied together on top of the breast to keep it from drying).
Place the chicken in the oven and leave her be. Roast 50 to 60 minutes or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°. Then allow the chicken to rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board.
Carve. Consume. Clap.