Roasting a whole chicken can seem intimidating but I promise you it’s as easy as many of those other one pot dinners you find online. The key here is a little bit of planning that will help season the chicken and season what will eventually become your side dish. That sentence also is intimidating, right? But take a deep breath and stick with me; you can make this chicken dinner ANYTHING that you crave in about two hours (depending on the size of your chicken). This is great for times when you want to impress guests, or just your loved ones without stressing yourself out.
You can find a million recipes online and I encourage you to try all of them. This Buzzfeed does an amazing job of spelling out Thomas Keller’s methods and its my dirty little secret. Yes, I learned to cook a chicken from Buzzfeed. #Millenial The .gifs on trussing a bird are worth the click through. You can find fancy recipes and cooking methods too, but if nothing else, promise me this: SALT YOUR BIRD. It’s the salt that helps crisp up the outside and keeps the juices inside. I also agree with Buzzfeed that you don’t need to baste, especially if you cover it with olive oil or butter (departing from Buzzfeed here) before you put it in the oven.
If you’re worried about over-browning you can cover or tent it with a little bit of aluminum foil and then remove for the last portion of cooking. I’d only open the oven once if you must open it at all. Heat escapes each time you crack that door and interferes with the cooking process. The window on your oven provides just as much insight as seeing it directly. I promise. If it doesn’t, maybe we should have a little conversation about the self cleaning button…
Here are some additional suggestions and seasonings. I am not afraid to be creative with the seasonings because in a household of two, we’re likely to be eating leftovers. But take a look at this list and realize just how versatile the roasted chicken can be:
- Poblano Cilantro Roasted Chicken. In the bottom of the roaster, add husked (or foiled) corn on the cob; red bell peppers, onions. Serve with a margarita. This will make for great tacos tomorrow.
- Spanish Roasted Chicken. My palate insists on the amount of paprika and garlic here. It won’t over power it. And those awesome potatoes in the bottom, they’re called patatas bravas. Whisk a little aioli or mayonnaise to serve with the potatoes.
- Roasted Jamaican Jerk Chicken. Sweet potatoes and roasted carrots will work well balancing some of the heat from the jerk with their natural sweet creaminess. Or you can make sides of rice and beans for a more traditional take.
- Roasted Curried Chicken. Serve with couscous, or chickpeas, or lentils.