I’ve mentioned this before, but when I graduated college and moved out on my own, I really could not cook a lick. I helped my mom bake some as a kid and I learned how to follow basic recipes, but that first year out on my own involved a whole lot of pasta and Hamburger Helper. Either out of necessity, desperation, or boredom (when you are living in a new city by yourself, you don’t exactly have the most active of social lives) I decided one day that I wanted to be a good cook. So with the help of the internet and a bevy of food blogs, I taught myself. I started small: casseroles, stir-fry, cookies, and muffins. Slowly but surely I gained some confidence, expanded my collection of kitchen utensils (seriously… at first I didn’t even own mixing bowls or baking pans, I made everything in my Pyrex set!), and rounded up a great group of taste testing friends. Now, nearly 4 years after graduating college and over a year of blogging later, I feel like I’ve really got the hang of it. I am BY NO MEANS a professional, but there’s nothing I’m afraid to try, and I’ve learned that the trial and error is half the fun!
Believe me when I say that I have tried a lot of recipes over the last few years. Like a lot a lot. And what I’ve come to realize is there are a few staple dishes out there for which everyone should have a favorite recipe. When it comes to things like cookies, brownies, and in this case, chicken… you know, the basics… I believe it is really important to have a go-to recipe that you can trust every time. So over the next year, I plan to build a Best Of The Basics portion of The Spatularettes where I can share my very favorite go-to recipes for all of the classics. These are things that I make all the time, so hopefully you’ll save the recipes and they’ll become favorites in your home as well!
For our very first Best Of The Basics recipe, I want to start with Roasted Chicken. This is a dish that even the newest cooks can feel confident making because it really is rather foolproof. I love roasting chickens when I’m having guests over because after the initial prep work is completed, the bird requires no babysitting while it cooks in the oven, leaving you free to work on the side dishes or last minute cleaning. The skin comes out nice and crispy while the insides are juicy and tender. And as an added bonus, this recipe makes for the best leftovers–perfecting for sandwiches and salads all week long!
- 1 roasting chicken (typically I find them to be between 6-7 lbs)
- 1 stick of butter, at room temperature
- 3 Tbs chopped fresh herbs (thyme, sage, rosemary, etc)
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 lemon
- Roasting pan
- Purchase a whole roasting chicken, not one of the little frying birds.
- Remove the bag of gizzards from the cavity of the chicken, then rinse the whole bird off under running water and pat it dry with some paper towels. Lay the chicken, breast side up, on the rack of a roasting pan.
- Pour about 12 oz of liquid into the bottom of the roasting pan. I like to use a beer, usually something good, but in this case all I had was Bud Light so it had to suffice. Some chicken broth would also work well.
- Finely chop 3 Tbs of fresh herbs. I like sage, thyme, and rosemary, but sometimes buy a “poultry seasoning packet” in the fresh herb section of my grocery store.
- Combine the room temperature butter with the chopped herbs and the kosher salt.
- Rub the herb butter all over the chicken. Use your hands to gently lift the skin from the breast and rub the butter up under there too. Flip the bird to rub in on the underside as well. Just smother that baby in butter, it’s what will help her get nice and crispy in the oven.
- Cut the lemon into quarters.
- Shove the lemon quarters and any left over herbs inside the cavity of the chicken.
- Roast the chicken, breast side up, at 400 degrees for 90 minutes. Before removing from the oven, use an insta-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken. You want the meat at the thickest part to register between 165 and 170 degrees. Just make sure the thermometer is not touching the bone when you insert it.
After you remove the chicken from the oven, let it rest for 20 minutes before carving. I’m actually not the greatest at carving meat, so I usually entrust the help of a dude. When I’m left to my own accord though, I’ve found this tutorial to be pretty helpful.
Do you have a favorite way to prepare chicken?