How to roast a chicken

September 23, 2008

One of the joys of September is that besides sending the kids back to school (no more camp fees!), you go back to using the oven again. One of our favourite Sunday meals is roasted chicken. Nothing is cozier than the great smell of roasting chicken in your house!

Although I serve roasted chicken a million different ways, I always make it using the same method. If you want to try your hand at roasting a chicken this weekend, I hope you’ll print out my step-by-step instructions and give my method a whirl:

1. I prefer open pan roasting for creating a juicy, tender, evenly golden brown roasted chicken so I use a rimmed baking sheet as my roasting pan.
2. Rinse the chicken inside and out with cold running water then pat dry with paper towel.
3. Brush chicken skin lightly with oil and season all over with salt and pepper. Lately I’ve been using salish smoked salt to add deep rich flavour to the bird.
4. Fill the large cavity with a halved lemon, a few cloves of garlic, a peeled, quartered onion and some fresh herb sprigs.
5. Truss the legs together using butcher’s twine. (One clever person I know thought using an elastic band was a good idea but I strongly caution against using one. After all, they evacuate neighbourhoods when there’s a tire fire since burning rubber is TOXIC.)
6. Place the prepared chicken on a rack in the rimmed baking sheet. If you are roasting more than one chicken, make sure there is an inch or two of space around each bird.
7. Wash all cutting boards, your hands, tools and other surfaces that come into contact with the raw chicken and its juices thoroughly in hot water using antibacterial soap.
8. Roast the chicken in a preheated 375 °F (190 °C) oven for about 1.5 hours or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thigh of the bird registers 185°F (85°C).
9. Before carving, let the hot-from-the-oven chicken rest on a cutting board for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the juices to recirculate throughout the meat.