We have our first chickens for CSA members going out this week. I have been cooking chicken like crazy the last few months to learn the best way to prepare these delicious birds. Tonight I am roasting one according to the method in a recent Cook’s Illustrated. Since some of you are getting a Bruce this week here is the recipe.
According to the article, you use an oven proof skillet that fits the bird nicely, not too big, which you preheat in a 450 F oven*. With the thigh meat hitting the very hot skillet, it starts to cook immediately and gets a good head start on the breast, which usually dries out before the dark meat is all the way cooked. Our birds are extremely lean so I use a lot more than 1 TB oil, I would say I use probably 4. I also add some sauteed onion and garlic, along with a quartered lemon in the cavity. This adds moisture.
*I have done this twice now with our birds, and find it works better with the temp set to 400/410F.
1 TB Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 3 1/2 to 4 lb Chicken
1 TB Olive Oil (I would use more or birds are much leaner than store bought)
Adjust oven rack to middle position, place 12" oven safe skillet on rack, and heat oven to 450 F. Combine salt and pepper in bowl. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Rub entire surface with oil. Sprinkle salt mixture evenly over surface of chicken, then rub in mixture with hands to coat evenly. Tie legs together with twine and tuck wing tips behind back. Transfer chicken, breast side up, to preheated skillet in oven. Roast chicken until breast registers 120 F and thighs register 135 F, 25 to 35 minutes. Turn oven off and leave chicken in oven until breast registers 160 F and thighs register 175 F, 25 to 35 minute. Transfer chicken to carving board and let rest uncovered, for 20 minutes. Carve chicken and serve.