With my new roasting pan sitting on the counter, I just had to initiate it. Thanksgiving is coming up, right? Let's give this thing a shakedown cruise by roasting a whole chicken. Ignore the little voice inside my head screaming, "WAIT WAIT! You've never roasted a whole chicken before!" Ignoring the little voice, I went to the grocery store and picked out a nice 4-pound organic chicken. Then I came home, put the fire department's number next to the phone, and set the smoke detector's sensitivity on low.
Fortunately, I did have one thing working in my favor: I have the March 2005 issue of Fine Cooking containing Pam Anderson's great article about roast chicken. To summarize her tips:
- Buy the best chicken you can find
- For extra-juicy breast meat, roast the chicken breast down for the first 30 minutes
- To get a nice crisp skin, salt the chicken and then refrigerate it for at least 2 hours.
- To get a nice brown skin, sprinkle on a little sugar before putting the chicken in the oven.
- Add water during roasting to keep the pan drippings from burning.
And low-and-behold, the same Fine Cooking issue also told be exactly how to carve it.
Well, I am here to report that the results came out beautiful (I am sure the fire department is breathing easier now). Unfortunately, it seemed like the whole meal was coming together at exactly the time the chicken came out of the oven so I completely forgot to take a photo. (I'll do this again in a couple of weeks so I'll be sure to post a photo then.)
Here you can see my son's plate. and you can see that the bird got nicely browned. I was very surprised at how moist and flavorful it came out. Plain chicken breast is pretty blah to me but this was really good.
The chicken cost me five bucks. Two people can each get two meals out of one chicken. Add another meal made with the little leftover bits of chicken. And then you can use the carcass to make a nice chicken soup or stock (Mine is boiling as we speak). Good eating for not much money.