I was felled by a particularly nasty holiday flu strain this Christmas, so I mostly sat at home in a drug-induced haze and got most of my exercise from trying to cough up my kidneys. In an effort to be more productive, however, I decided to take a break from the DVD player and decorating the cats to post yet another entry on roast chicken.
|"I hate when you're bored. Go have some more cough syrup, why don't you?"|
|"Here's a great New Year's resolution: No more gratuitous cat photos for your FOOD blog in 2013."|
But as with everything else in life, practice, patience and pluckiness (yours, not the chicken's) can go a long way towards making you feel like the star of your own cooking show with your own perfectly roasted chicken.
I've become comfortable with certain techniques and temperatures, so this recipe I found on Bon Appetempt gave me pause, since it has you cooking the chicken at a very high heat all the way. But I decided to go ahead and trust the recipe because first, Bon Appetempt. It's written by a blogger who compares the outcomes of glossy magazine recipes with her own attempts. How do you not love that whole premise AND title?
Second, it's Ina Garten's recipe. How do you not trust Ina Garten? Ina knows everything. Ina is always right. Ina has her own cooking show and is constantly whipping up gourmet meals for her gazillion friends and gazillionaire husband in her beautiful kitchen. On TV. Trust Bon Appetempt and trust Ina.
And my trust was not misplaced, because the recipe worked surprisingly well. Just make sure your oven is immaculate, lest you find yourself having to make additional place cards for the half a dozen firemen who might suddenly show up.
And yes, that throwaway comment was designed to make you think that I'm totally a place card-making kind of gal. The type who should have her own cooking show. Like Ina.
My chicken was considerably smaller and brined as I now do with all my chickens so I made some changes. Make sure to check out Bon Appetempt's original recipe, though, as well as her awesome photos. I probably should have listed those as my third reason, because they definitely sealed the deal.
Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken
adapted from Ina Garten's recipe on Bon Appetempt
1 2-3 lb. chicken, preferably organic and free-range
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme
3 heads garlic, cut in 1/2 crosswise
1 tablespoon butter, melted
¼ pound sliced bacon (about 4-5 slices)
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1. Submerge the chicken in a brine mixture and soak for two hours in your fridge.
Remove chicken from brine. Rinse and pat dry.
2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
3. Remove giblets from inside the cavity if your chicken has them (mine don't).
Place the chicken in a roasting pan. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Note #1: do NOT use salt if you brined your chicken.
4. Stuff the cavity with the thyme, reserving enough thyme to garnish the chicken dish, 1 lemon, halved, and 2 halves of the garlic.
Note #2: If I were to do this again, I would break up my garlic and use whole unpeeled cloves instead of cutting the entire head in half. The halved heads didn't cook nearly as evenly.
5. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper (See Note #1). Try to work some butter in between the skin and meat, too.
6. You can tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Personally, I don't truss my chickens, ( I have truss issues!), and they work out fine. I do cut the wing tips off, though.
7. Cut 2 of the lemons in quarters and scatter the quarters and remaining garlic around the chicken.
8. Lay the bacon slices over the chicken to cover.
9. Roast the chicken for 1 hour. Remove the bacon slices from the top of the chicken and set aside.
10. Continue roasting the chicken for an additional 1/2 hour, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. If you have an instant-read thermometer, stick that into the chicken's thigh. You're shooting for an internal temperature of 165F.
11. Remove to a platter and cover with aluminum foil while you prepare the gravy. Throw your bacon back into your turned-off oven just to warm it up a bit.
12. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the bottom of the pan. Add the wine and chicken stock and bring it to a boil on your stovetop. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until reduced by half.
Slice the chicken on a platter. Garnish the chicken platter with the bacon slices, roasted garlic, reserved thyme and 1 lemon, sliced. Serve with the gravy.