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Roast Chicken

My daughter hates chicken. And it’s my fault.

For probably a decade, every Wednesday night – and I mean every Wednesday night – I made roast chicken. It is probably one of my favorite foods and was one of those ingredients that I could take from car to kitchen to oven in about 10 min. It has always been important for me that families cook together at home. And that brings Cathryn, or Cat, into the picture.

When she was just becoming a teenager I asked her one day if she wanted to help me in the kitchen and learn how to cut up a chicken. I’ve always thought this was in important skill and something I wanted to pass along to my daughter. She really did an amazing job, but the experience left her with a distaste for the disarticulated bird. She didn’t like the look, feel, or anything about the process so she sticks to fish and steak these days.

People always think that chicken is “easier” if it comes in a nugget, strip, tender, wing, or something boneless-skinless. But the easiest way to cook a chicken is whole. This recipe is easy, time tested, and delicious. Just don’t ask your daughter to cut up the chicken.

4 lb. whole chicken, organic (and yes, this time it matters)

fresh herbs, such as thyme, oregano, sage, or whatever you have fresh

3 tbs butter, softened

2 tbs vegetable oil

salt and pepper

8 oz. aromatic liquid (think wine, vermouth, or even a beer)

Assorted aromatics (onion, cut into four pieces; garlic cloves still in their skin; whole shallots)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Trim the chicken by removing the wing tips and any extra fat. Remove the wishbone by making a small cut along the side of the bone at the base of the chicken and pulling it out with your fingers. This will make the chicken easier to carve after cooking.

Generously season the body cavity with salt and pepper; you can place herbs here as well if you like. Truss the chicken or if you are in a hurry at least tie the legs together which helps it cook evenly. Massage the softened butter over the chicken especially over the breast. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.

Heat a large cast iron skillet on the stove until it is smoking hot. Carefully add the vegetable oil and then the chicken breast side up. Sear on the stove for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the aromatics, fresh herbs, and right before placing in the oven add 8 oz of the aromatic liquid which will produce steam.

Roast in the oven for 55 minutes and then check the internal temperature of the breast and thigh which should read at least 165 degrees. This should be the maximum for the breast although the thigh can cook to 175 degrees and still remain moist. If needed cook the chicken for 5 to 10 minutes longer. When you remove the chicken from the oven there will be an accumulation of liquid in the pan. Spoon this liquid over the chicken before placing it on a platter to carve.

The best tool for determining food temperature is a good instant read thermometer. I recommend the Thermapen.

#roast #chicken #thermapen #family #dinner

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Dan McCoy