Whole roasted chicken is among the few gratifying and comforting foods you can prepare. The aromas from a roasting chicken are not only inviting but also scream good news to everyone in the house. The only ingredients required to prepare a roasted chicken include pepper, salt, garlic, and a few other herbs. The key to a perfectly roasted chicken isn’t however with the spices, but with the technique used. A whole chicken is very affordable, and so is the roasting process. Any leftovers from the chicken make an excellent second meal, hence no wastage. Although you can choose to a rotisserie chicken, you don’t have to be a master chef to master the art of roasting a full chicken. Here are a few tips and tricks.
1. Dry equals crispy
You can start with a 4- or 5-pound frying or broiling chicken. Pat dry the chicken both inside and out with a paper towel. It would be advisable to open the chicken packaging the night or morning before, then leave it uncovered in the fridge in readiness for preparation.
2. You’ll need some salt
Mix a tablespoon of table salt with pepper, then season the chicken generously on all sides. A tablespoonful of salt will be enough for a 5-pound chicken. In addition to seasoning, salt acts as brine, which helps keep the bird moist while in the oven.
3. Add more seasonings
For a deliciously tasty chicken, consider adding more seasonings to the mix. Herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage, and minced garlic provide perfect seasoning for your chicken. Mix all these in a bowl, then rub the contents on and inside the bird. It would be advisable to season the bird then let it sit for several hours for a boost in flavor. Some people prefer their chcken nice and spicy, create a rub with your favourite spices and leave it to flavour the meat. Here is a lovely recipe for tandoori chicken – a spiced chicken meal from marigoldmaison.com
4. Season the cavity as well
Do not forget the bird’s cavity; slice up some onions, lemons, bay leaves, or an apple then place them inside the cavity. These will help add flavor and release moisture inside the chicken, making it tastier. Be sure to remove all the contents from the cavity before carving.
5. Tuck and truss
You’ll need to tuck the winds and tie (truss) the legs to keep everything secured and in place. This also makes the chicken more presentable while serving. Trussing and tucking is essential for it also helps keep the breast moist as the chicken roasts.
6. Baste, or not
This depends on how you want the roasted chicken to be. If looking for a crispy chicken, you should then avoid basting as this only leaves the chicken soft on the outside. If you, however, wish to have soft skin all around, you can then dot the chicken with butter, then brush it with oil before putting it in the oven. Basting and brushing however mean you have to open the oven door repeatedly. For this reason, it’s best to leave the chicken undisturbed in the oven until done.
7. Cook slow but steady
Unless you are in a hurry, cook the chicken at 350ºF for between 15 and 20 minutes per pound. This helps keep the white meat moist while ensuring everything (including the dark meat) is cooked perfectly.
8. Sheet pan, roasting pan, etc.
The traditional roasting pan will be enough to keep the chicken elevated as well as allow the bottom part to be crisp. You can also use a shallow sheet pan to facilitate crisping of the sides as well. A large cast iron skillet is however my preferred option for it is good at retaining heat.
9. Check for doneness
Always avoid poking the bird too often when checking for doneness. To prevent this, use a timer to help you keep track of when the chicken will be ready. You can also use a thermometer to check if the chicken is cooked well. Insert the thermometer in the breast or any other thick part. If the thermometer registers 165 degrees F, it is ready. You could also use a sharp knife to check for doneness as well. Insert the blade on the thickest part to see if the juices are clear. Be sure to avoid the bones when doing this.
10. Let it rest
If the chicken is done, set it aside for at least 15 minutes. This allows juices to redistribute as the chicken cools. You can then enjoy your perfectly roasted chicken.
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Amila Gamage Wickramarachchi is the founder of this blog which she shares her parenting and lifestyle experiences.She is a Contracts Engineer by profession and recently launched her own Engineering consultancy service Sihela Consultants.(www.sihelaconsultants.com)