The first time I had to "associate" with a raw, whole chicken, I screamed. Out loud. At the sink. In sheer horror. Dramatic? Yes. But the plump pink chicken in my hands felt strangely related to something human. And I felt like Hannibal Lecter.
(Are the vegetarians fainting yet?)
But I stuck it out, and like many disgusting kitchen tasks, it paid off in pure culinary satisfaction.
This simple recipe will make your house smell delicious and put a smile on your man's face as he enters after a hard day of slogging it out at the office.
What you'll need:
(Forgot the lemon in this picture. And the onion. And the olive oil.
Sorry. I'm flawed.)
Take a deep breath, and remove the chicken from the packaging.
(It's okay. It's little soul is already in mass meat production heaven or wherever the little darlings go. If chickens have souls. Which I don't think they do. But I digress...)
If the processing facility has been so kind as to detach the giblets and the neck bone and has placed them in a plastic bag and stuffed them into the cavity of the chicken, give thanks. Remove the bag and do whatever you please with its contents. Cook them for the dogs. Make giblet gravy. Throw them away. It's your choice.
If they haven't done the dirty work, I'm sorry. Call your mother in tears. She'll tell you what to do.
Rinse the chicken (inside and out) with cold water.
Pat it dry with a paper towel.
Put it in a greased (or parchment paper-lined) baking dish.
Rub the surface of the chicken with some softened butter. (I like to leave the skin on. It helps retain the juices and prevents you from having a dry poultry-induced Griswold Family Christmas moment around your table.)
Stuff the cavity with rosemary, a whole head of garlic (cut in half cross-wise), both halves of the lemon, the whole peppercorns, and the salt.
Cut the onion into wedges; scatter the wedges around the chicken.
Drizzle the whole thing with olive oil.
Roast at 425 for about an hour and a half. Enjoy the aromatherapy of roasting onions (do they make Roasting Onion candles?) and the hissing and popping of the butter succumbing to the heat.
Remove from the oven. Cut the skin between a leg and a thigh. If you see any pink fluid, please return it to the oven, pronto. If the juices are clear, it's done.
Plan to have the chicken fully cooked about 20 minutes before you serve the meal. This way, after the chicken comes out of the oven, you can "tent it" with foil. This helps the juices be reabsorbed by the meat.
1 whole chicken, 4-5 pounds
2 tablespoons butter, softened
Salt (I like to use Kosher Salt...see the picture)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 large fresh bunch of rosemary
1 lemon, halved
1 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 large onion, cut in wedges
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a baking dish (or line it with parchment paper.)
2. Remove the giblets and rinse the chicken, inside and out.
3. Pat it dry with a paper towel.
4. Place the chicken in the prepared baking dish. Liberally salt and pepper the inside and outside of the chicken.
5. Stuff the cavity with the rosemary, both halves of the lemon, both halves of the garlic head, and the peppercorns.
6. Tie the legs together using kitchen twine, helping to make the chicken decent in her last moments.
7. Cut the onion into wedges; scatter them around chicken.
8. Drizzle with olive oil (concentrate on the onions, but it's OK if you get it on the chicken, too.)
9. Roast for an hour and a half, until the juices run clear.
10. Remove from oven and "tent" with foil, letting the meat rest for about 20 minutes before carving.