Monday, March 14, 2011

Roast chicken done Holly's way

A good roast chicken is one of life's most sublime pleasures, a crisp-skin package with meltingly tender meat, releasing a bit of wonderous broth in every bite.

My usual method is to season the chicken well – salt or garlic salt, pepper, paprika (smoked or plain) maybe put a little rosemary under the skin and stuff with a lemon – spray with olive oil, start it at 475, then turn the oven down to 325 and cook for an hour or so. I never baste, never open the oven door while cooking. I love crispy skin.

I check the temp in the breast since that's what I eat first; it should be at least 160 degrees (the temp continues to rise as it sets out of the oven) and never more than 165. Overcooking is what usually dries out poultry.

Letting the chicken rest when it comes out of the oven is another key to a moist chicken; minimum 10 minutes to let the juices absorb back into the meat (that works with all meats, by the way). Before serving, I check the temp on the thigh; if it's not up to 165, I remove the legs and put them back in the oven, keep the breast warm, serve the salad. They are usually cooked just right by then.

But I'm always open to new ways of roasting chickens: I love the Zuni Cafe method, and I'm eager to try THIS ONE my friend Holly just posted on her blog, which uses butter and celery. Do you have any favorite roast chicken recipes or tips to share?

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