Oh, how I love roast chicken. It is family food in our house. We could eat it every week for our Sunday dinners. So moist, so juicy, so tender, and that smell-- it is the next best thing to bread baking in the oven. And there is always that sense of pride when I take it out of the oven and we all admire the perfectly browned and crispy skin.
Next, comes trying to figure out who got to snap the wishbone last time and make a wish. Then we wait while the chicken rests (Glass of wine, anyone?). Carving... I think I could do this blind folded. It is my favorite part. Why is it my favorite part? Because I get to sneak the succulent oysters off the backbone. One for me and the other for my husband. I don't even think my children know about this part of the chicken. Maybe, I will let them in on this secret one day. Maybe.
Of course, we all have our preferences for light or dark meat. My girls enjoy the light, the boys enjoy the dark and me-- all of the above, please!
Wait, back to my last meal. Not only would there be a roast chicken, but I would be surrounded with my family in my home and it would never ever end.
My family enjoys our roast chicken dinner with a good French Dijon like Amora on the side, a simple salad, some potatoes and something chocolate for dessert. I can't wait until Sunday!
1 good quality, fresh 3-3 1/2 lb chicken (I like Bell & Evans)
freshly ground black pepper
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
2-3 cloves of garlic, unpeeled and smashed
*Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 1 hour before roasting. This allows the bird to come to room temperature which ensures even cooking.
Set a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 475ºF.
Rinse the chicken thoroughly, inside and out, then dry with paper towels. Remove any lumps of fat from inside the cavity.
Season the cavity with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Truss the bird with kitchen twine or simply tuck the wings under the breast and tie the drumsticks together. Generously season the entire chicken with salt and pepper and place in a roasting pan.
Once the oven is heated place the chicken in the oven and close the door for 50 minutes. Don't turn, baste, or even sneak a peak. However, half way through cooking turn on your range vent. Cooking at a high temperature can cause smoke. After 50 minutes take the chicken out of the oven and check the temperature. The best place to do this is the thickest part of the thigh. You'll want a temperature of 155ºF and it will continue to rise another 10 degrees while resting. If not, place the chicken back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes. Once the chicken is done, remove it from the oven and add the thyme sprigs and smashed garlic to the pan juices (careful of splattering and spitting). Then baste the chicken with the flavored drippings. Set the chicken on a carving board and let the it rest for 15-20 minutes before carving. Enjoy!