Sunday cooking adventures: Roast a chicken or two


It’s that time of year. It’s getting dark earlier. It’s cold. It’s time to roast a chicken.

Roasting a chicken is something everyone should know how to do, even if you can’t cook a lick. If you can roast a chicken, you can show off to your girl or boyfriend, your mother, your grandparents, your best friend — anyone you want to impress.

The smell is unbeatable, and so is the taste. And it really doesn’t take much.

I adapted this recipe from one by Ina Garten, who is a chef from Food Network television. The good thing about roasting a chicken is you can keep it very, very basic. You can almost literally put some butter or olive oil, salt and pepper on the skin of the chicken, put it in the oven on 375 for a couple of hours depending on the chicken’s size (and your oven) and it will smell and taste great. Or, you can dress it up any number of ways and really get everyone’s mouth-watering long before it comes out of the oven. Google roast chicken to get an idea of all the ways you can change it up and make it even more flavorful and dressy.

This is a relatively simple recipe that I have made again and again. The aroma of this chicken is to die for, and it is succulent to eat. And it ain’t hard to make. Here is a link to Ina’s original recipe, Perfect Roast Chicken. Good luck with this one!


Roast chicken
Adapted from Perfect Roast Chicken by Ina Garten
Serves 6-8

Two 3-4 pound chickens
3 teaspoons of olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons basil, divided
1-2 heads of garlic, separated into cloves (you can leave the skins on), divided
1-1/2 lemons, cut into quarters, divided (you don’t have to peel)
1 large onion, peeled and cut into quarters, divided

If giblets are inside chicken, remove and either discard or save for another use. Check outside of chicken for pin feathers and remove. Rinse chicken in cold water inside and out. Drain. Dry outside with paper towels. Set both chickens on a large roasting rack in a large roasting pan or on a cutting board.

Stand chickens on end so large opening is facing up. Divide basil in half and sprinkle inside main cavities of chickens. Lay chickens flat on roasting rack in a large roasting pan, with backs down and breasts facing up. Divide lemons and onion and add to cavities of both chickens. Divide garlic cloves and put into cavities (it is easier to fit individual cloves into the chicken.) Use a brush to paint tops of chickens with olive oil. Fold and tuck wing tips under chicken. Tie legs together at ends with kitchen twin so chickens cook more evenly.

Roast in 375-degree oven. After about two hours, use a knife to check at joint where leg meets thigh of chicken. Juices should run clear (not bloody or red). If they are clear, chicken is done. If not, return to oven until done (Check again in about 15-20 minutes. Smaller chickens will cook faster.) When done, let rest in pan for 20 minutes before carving. (I don’t usually cover it to keep warm because the crisp skin gets soggy). Carve.

Ina has a nice video on how to execute some of these techniques, including folding and tucking the wings, checking for doneness, and most important, carving the chicken. See Youtube video here.

She also puts vegetables in the pan with chicken and roasts at a higher heat than I do (425 degrees). But that’s what I mean by versatile. It’s kind of hard to mess up a roast chicken. You have to really work at it to screw it up. So give it a whirl. You won’t be sorry.

Carved up and ready to go!

Carved up and ready to go!

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