I make roast chicken fairly often so I was a little shocked to see I hadn’t published a roast chicken post. Roast chicken is something everyone has eaten in their lives and most everyone is familiar with the basics of cooking one. You’ve seen your mom, grandmother, heck even your dad, roast a chicken. So I guess I never posted anything because I didn’t think there’s much I can say about roast chicken. And for the most part that’s true. Except, if it’s so simple…how do you make it really stand out?
Answer: butter. Gobs of it. Herb butter if you have it. Chicken breasts can dry out pretty quickly if you’re not careful (there’s a reason you don’t check off chicken on those wedding invitations isn’t there?). One way to overcome this and add some good flavor at the same time is by taking butter and slipping chunks of it under the skin of the bird, then massaging it in. The butter keeps things moist and adds taste. That’s pretty much it. You just need to season with some salt and pepper, apply the butter, throw an apple inside and roast, basting the bird occasionally. Trust me, master this simple technique and people will marvel at your chicken.
Roast Chicken with Pan Gravy
- 1 chicken 4-5 lbs (I like to use fryers, they’re perfect for 2 people, more than 2 people roast a couple of birds)
- 4-5 Tbs Butter or herb butter (at least 4 Tbs)
- 1 apple quartered (lemon, onion, or orange works too)
- 1 small onion
- 1 carrot
- Kitchen twine
- 1 C stock/wine/water
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Remove giblets and neck from inside cavity of the chicken (if your chicken has them, not always the case with fryers). Rinse the inside and outside of your chicken under cold running water. Pat dry with a paper towel.
Loosen the skin on one of the breasts by sticking your finger underneath the skin by the edge of the cavity. Be careful not to break the skin as you want to make a pocket which will hold the herb butter. Repeat on the other side.
Next, take 2 Tbs (at least 2) of herb butter and gently slide it under the skin so the butter is between the skin and the breast meat. If the butter is nice and soft you can massage it around moving your fingers across the top of the skin. Make sure you get it forward enough onto the breast towards the neck as well as down in between the breast and leg. Repeat on the other side.
Season the inside of the bird with a good three finger pinch of salt and some cracked pepper. Season the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper and rub it in.
Insert the apple slices into the cavity.
Truss the bird with your kitchen twine. Here’s a video on one way to truss a chicken.
In a roasting pan, place the gizzards, neck, carrots, and onion slices in the center forming a small platform to put the chicken on.
Place chicken on top of the pile. Pour in the wine/stock/water. Put chicken in oven and roast for 90 minutes. Check it every 20-30 minutes and baste with any pan juices.
Remove from oven and let rest for 20 minutes.
While the chicken is resting you can make the pan gravy (if you want to). Strain the pan liquid removing all of the solids. Pour off the fat from the juices. [Side Roam: here’s a trick: I pour off the juices into a clear glass measuring cup and let the fat settle on top, then I take my basting tool, and suck up the juices from below the fat, then squeeze it out into the pan.]
Put the roasting pan on the stove and over med-high heat deglaze the pan with some stock/wine/water. Add the juices back into the pan with 1 C stock/wine/water. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half.
Whisk in COLD butter cut into ½ Tbs one piece at a time until the sauce is thickened (and tastes) to your liking. Add some chopped parsley, season to taste.
Slice the chicken up, pour gravy over and serve.