How to Prepare and Cook a Perfect Roasted Chicken

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A roasted chicken just might be the perfect meal. Check out this unique and very simple cooking technique for a beautifully roasted bird.

If there is one dish that I go to for ease, comfort, and taste it really would be a good roasted chicken. It is easy enough for a weekday meal yet also substantial enough for a dinner party or Sunday dinner. On the side, some simple roasted potatoes and green salad. Now, that is my idea of a perfect meal.

This is my go-to method for roasting a chicken. It is by far the easiest method I've tried and produces a tender, flavorful and juicy bird every time. Read on for my top roasting tips, followed by a delicious recipe!

Tip #1: Roast breast-side down.

In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, I sear the chicken breast-side down to ensure a deeply caramelized skin and to allow juices from the dark meat to drip into the white meat, which tends to get dry and lack flavor.

Tip #2: Sear first.

This initial sear allows the skin on the breast to caramelize and develop intense flavor. Immediately after the sear the chicken goes into a hot oven (400°F) and finishes roasting for about an hour. Once out of the oven the bird gets a flip to reveal the bronze colored skin on the breast and then a rest to allow the juices to distribute.

Tip #3: Always season in advance!

Salting the chicken anytime from 1 to 3 days before you roast it gives the salt time to soak into all of the meat; if you salt the chicken right before roasting, only the skin is seasoned.

This particular recipe uses an herb-laced butter to season the chicken but the point here is the method. So feel free to flavor the chicken however you’d like. A good quality bird simply seasoned with salt & pepper is wonderful. Or stuff the cavity with garlic, shallot and lemon. I also love the red, bronzed color of the skin after paprika has been spread on top.

Herb-Butter Roasted Chicken

From Date Night In

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 (3 to 4 pound / 1,360 to 1,815 g) whole chicken 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1⁄4 cup / 5 g finely chopped herbs, plus more for garnish (such as chives, parsley, tarragon, and basil)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Step 1:

Prepare your chicken 1 to 3 days ahead: remove the giblets and sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper inside and out. Place in a small roasting pan and refrigerate, uncovered.

Step 2:

Remove the chicken from the fridge 30 minutes prior to roasting. Pat dry with paper towels.

Step 3:

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Step 4:

In a small bowl, stir together the herbs, garlic, mustard, and butter. Carefully separate the chicken skin from the breast and tuck some of the herbed butter under it, massaging to move it all around the breast. Spread the remaining butter over the chicken skin and in the cavity.

Step 5:

Heat the olive oil in a large, oven-safe skillet over high heat until the oil is just starting to smoke. Carefully add the chicken to the pan, breast-side down. Allow the breast to sear for 4 minutes without moving. Remove from the heat and place the pan in the preheated oven.

Step 6:

Every 20 minutes, spoon the butter-and-herb- laced drippings from the pan over the chicken, coating the skin. Roast for a total of 60 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 165°F deep in the thigh, away from the bone.

Remove the chicken from the pan and let rest on a cutting board for 15 minutes before carving. Serve the chicken with the golden, crisped breast-side up and garnish with chopped fresh

Bonus tip:

Refrigerating the chicken without a covering such as plastic wrap dries out the skin and gives you an extra-crispy chicken.

Hungry for more?

Easily transform meat, poultry and vegetables into flavor-packed dishes with a range of roasting techniques! Discover delicious recipes your family will love throughout 7 HD video lessons in the online cooking class Roasting Techniques Every Cook Should Know.

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How to Prepare and Cook a Perfect Roasted Chicken