Roast Chicken

How to prepare chickens

How to prepare chickens

So proud to call this ‘signature.’
It’s as stress-free as perfection gets.
It’s simple: no gravy, no stuffing.
It’s simple: no guesswork.
It produces crispy skin.
And juicy meat.
It produces the lovely color we look for in our roast chicken.
It’s amazingly delicious.
It’ as easy and surefire as the boiled eggs recipe we posted at an earlier date.
And it comes out perfectly every time.

Start with buying the finest chicken you can find.
There are many options in a big city like Boston and I hesitate making a list.
Bell and Evans is an excellent brand because of its market penetration. Note that they have a ‘regular,’ but they also have an organic, free-range bird at more money of course. Buy the best you can afford.

The night before we cook we have four things to do.

Gather odd pieces for a stock to be made after we’ve eaten the chicken
The night before we eat it, wash and dry the fresh chicken.
Remove the neck and the giblets and cut off the wings.
Put all of these, except the liver, into a plastic bag and freeze.
Later, when we’re finished eating the chicken, we’ll use these pieces, with the leftover chicken carcass and other pieces, to make a small chicken stock which we’ll reduce to gravy richness with which we’ll supplement our container of chicken gravy..

Chef’s perk.
Saute and eat the liver as the chef’s perk.

Prep the chicken for roasting
Still at the night before.
Brush the chicken with a slurry of 1t black pepper, 2TB of baking powder, and 3TB water.
Set the chicken on a poultry rack in a roasting pan and refrigerate the brushed, uncovered chicken overnight.
If overnight not available, slurry the chicken anyway.
It'll add a lot during the slow-roast.
The air and the mix will dehydrate and break down the chicken’s exterior, preparing it for a good browning.

Prepare a powdered spice mix of 1TB each:
Onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, curry, nutmeg, black pepper, paprika, and cinnamon. 

Roast the Chicken: the “At our Convenience Method.”
As soon as we wake up we can put the bird in the oven.
Don’t freak over the whitish color of the bird: it’s what we want to happen with the dehydration and seasoning.
Think crispy skin, nicely  colored skin.

We’ll slow-roast the chicken in a 200* oven for 30 minutes per pound.
A 5.5 lb. chicken will spend 155min in the oven, 2hours and 35minutes.
When time is up, take the chicken out of the oven and loosely cover it with aluminum foil.
Note the absence of drippings in the roast pan.
They are where they belong: in the bird.
The whitish color hasn’t changed.
Go about the day.

Finish the Chicken
Finishing the chicken will take 45 minutes, including 20 minutes for the chicken to settle.

Set the oven rack on the lowest shelf.
Turn on the broiler.
Remember that every oven is different so we’ll adjust these times to our own ovens.
Trial and error is involved.

Before putting the roasting pan in the oven, be sure that the chicken breast facing the broiler is level.
A poultry rack makes this very easy.

When the oven is hot, set the roasting pan with the chicken on that lowest rack.
Broil the chicken, breast side up, for six minutes.
Check the chicken after the six minutes.

Likely it will need a little more color.
Chicken still looking dry?
Desirable for this moment since we’re crisping the skin.
Return the chicken to the oven and continue to brown it until it’s evenly and attractively brown.
In my oven this takes only 2 more minutes.

Flip the chicken so the backbone is facing the broiler.
This side is usually level naturally.
Brown this side for 6 minutes.
Check it. My oven needs 2 more minutes to nicely brown the chicken.

Then lay the chicken on its side and brown that for only three minutes since the sides reach closer to the flame than the breast or backbone.
Flip it and brown the other side.

When all of the chicken is nicely browned, take the chicken out of the oven and check the temperatures of both the breast and the leg.
We are looking for approximately 125* for the breast and 135* for the leg.
The temperature will determine how long more to keep the chicken in the oven.

Before we brush an olive oil slurry all over the bird, notice and be proud of how dry and crispy the skin has become.
Delicious waiting to happen.

Turn the oven to ‘Bake’ and set the temperature for 500*.
Pour 3TB olive oil in a small bowl and add 2 or 3 TB of the reserved spice powder.
Brush the slurry all over the chicken.
Like magic, the chicken is beautifully golden-brown and deliciously spiced.

Return the chicken to the oven.
If the temperature readings were 125* for the breast and 135* for the leg, the hot roasting will only take 5 minutes.
Here we assume pinpoint control of the cook by adjusting the time of this final roast depending on the temperature reading.

Take the chicken out of the oven and check the temperature of the breast and the leg.
We are looking for approximately 150* for the breast and 155* for the leg.

Collect the juices from the cavity of the chicken for use later in a stock.
Deglaze the roasting pan and collect those flavors as well.
Later, add the juices from the cutting board.
The recipe for the "Gravy, Chicken, Post-Gravy" will need these juices.

Allow 20 minutes for the chicken juices to settle.
The temperature will go up by 5*, reaching the optimum 155* for the breast and 160* for the thigh.
While lower than the USDA recommended, still higher than the 145* that kills the pathogens.

The result: Roast Chicken extraordinaire!
Succulent, simple, absolutely delicious.

Looks like this. But unlike this, it is amazingly juicy inside with wonderfully crisp and tasty skin

Looks like this.
But unlike this, it is amazingly juicy inside with wonderfully crisp and tasty skin

We may serve the chicken as is, no gravy.
The juicy meat and the crispy, salty, seasoned skin easily stand on their own.

And for goodness sake, eat the delicious skin.
Cut out the cream puffs.

Carving the chicken
Separate the leg by slicing through the skin and meat to expose the leg joint that holds the leg to the bird’s body.
Pull the leg away to expose the connection, finishing the separation by cutting at the joint with the bone knife.
Repeat this for other leg.
Cut off each of the wings by pulling each while slicing at the joint.
Separate the breast meat by cutting down alongside of breastbone, pulling the meat away as we slash and slice.
Repeat for the other side.
Slice the breast meat into rounds, like firewood.