Perfecting the Art of Roasting a Chicken
Posted on July 04 2022,
Roasting a chicken can seem intimidating but once you've done it, it will soon become one of your go-to meals. And one of the most wonderful things about roasting a chicken (apart from eating it, of course), is that it gives you fabulous leftovers to make sandwiches or a sensational broth for homemade soup. So, let's dive right in!
Preparing the chicken for roasting
There are so many wonderful and unique ways to season your roast chicken. However, for this recipe, we are going to keep it simple and traditional. Before you start, let's preheat that oven to 425.
You're going to want to start by removing the chicken giblets and rinsing that sucker inside and out. The idea here is to remove any excess fat and/or leftover pinfeathers. Once that's done, pat the outside dry and place the chicken in a large roasting pan.
Now, you're going to want to liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken and stuff the cavity with the thyme, both halves of a lemon, and all of the garlic. From there, you're going to brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle even more salt and pepper. You can also lift the skin and add as much butter as you'd like under there.
Finally, you're going to tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Scatter the onion slices around the chicken and voilà! That baby is ready for the oven.
Roasting the chicken
Once your oven has reached 425, you're going to want to roast the chicken for 1-1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh.
When it's done, place it on a platter and cover with aluminum foil because it's time to prepare that finger licking delicious gravy.
The best gravy you'll ever make
Everyone knows that a beautiful roast chicken can only be complimented further with fabulous homemade gravy. Start by removing all the fat from the bottom of the pan, reserving 2 tablespoons in a small cup.
From there, add your chicken stock to the pan and cook on high heat for about 5 minutes, until reduced, scraping the bottom of the pan. Combine the 2 tablespoons of chicken fat with the flour and add to the pan. Boil for a few minutes to cook the flour. Strain the gravy into a small saucepan and season it to taste. Keep it warm over a very low flame while you carve the chicken.
Tips on carving the chicken
Similar to roasting a chicken, carving can seem complicated but you're going to floored when you realize how easy it is! Start by placing the chicken breast side up on a cutting board. Make sure to let it sit for 15 minutes before carving. Does letting it sit make a difference you ask? You bet it does! Sitting allows the juices of the chicken to redistribute within the meat instead of spilling out onto the cutting board.
Once you're ready, lightly press the carving fork into the breastbone between the two breasts to stabilize the chicken as you cut. Using a sharp knife, cut the skin between the leg and the body so that you have a clear view of the joints.
Now you're ready to remove the drumstick and thigh. Pull the leg away from the side of the chicken to expose the hip joint. Pierce the joint with the tip of your knife. Once the joint is severed, the leg can be removed in one piece.
Once the leg is removed, you can separate the drumstick from the thigh. Placing your carving fork in the thigh meat, cut straight down along the curve of the drumstick until you reach the joint. Gently pierce the joint between the drumstick and the thigh to separate the two pieces.
And now for the breast meat! Place your cutting fork in the middle of the chicken’s breastbone. Starting at the base of the left breast, position your knife right above the wing. Make a long, horizontal cut, starting from the top at the wing and continuing until you reach the point where the leg used to meet the breast.
Now that the breast meat is loosened at the base, it will be easier to remove from the breastbone - make a deep vertical cut down along the breastbone of the left breast. Once you have cut the length of the breastbone, cut in an angled, downward motion underneath the breast and toward your horizontal cut. This removes the breast meat from the rib cage, releasing it from the carcass.
Use your knife to cut that meat into slices and you're done!