The next in our ‘easy dinner solutions’ series is the noble, yet humble roast chicken. I’ll save you the insulting details, but in the Les Halles Cookbook, Tony Bourdain insinuates that cooks that can’t pull off a roast chicken should hang themselves with their apron strings. Dramatic yes, but the point is somewhat salient. Roasting a chicken is easy. Maybe some folks find the idea of cooking a whole critter to be intimidating (I imagine this also applies to the mystery surrounding whole fish). The rank of roasters are growing though, as I have noticed an increasing number of folks taking back the whole beast from the butcher and claiming it as their own.
The only drawback of the roasted bird is time. With a little practice, you can turn one of these guys around in 90 minutes, start to finish. The problem is, getting home from work at a normal time, you may not have 90 minutes. For a light-labor weekend meal, I wholeheartedly advocate roasting one of these bad boys (or two!) when you’ve got the time and saving what you don’t use. It’s like buying your chicken pre-cut at the store, but instead it’s already cooked, way cheaper and you’re free from the dull culinary onus of eating sad grocery store chicken cutlets. One word of advise, use a Kosher chicken. You’re ensured high quality of merch, good handling practices and a far tastier outcome.
Prep isn’t difficult. Rinse and dry the chicken, tie the knobs of the drumsticks together, season liberally with dry chipotle, chili powder and foxpoint and roast at 450 F for45 minutes, then lower to 350 F for 30 more. Use a probe thermometer in the thigh to make sure you clear at least 140 F, but I’d recommend pulling around 145-150 F to avoid making folks uneasy about your dark meat doneness.
Once it’s out, you don’t just have to eat plain bird slices (although it will be so good that will seem totally fine!). This particular evening we cut the thing up and had it in flatbreads with gouda, avocado, onions, and roasted poblanos. But salads, soups, sandwiches are only the beginning. Lots of recipes are now telling you to buy a rotisserie chicken at jump street and go from there. As I said, without 90 minutes to make delicious chicken, you’re options are few, I know, but, whenever possible, I urge you to roast your own bird. Take advantage now, because once the summer gets here you’re not going to want to roast a darn thing. Until next time, enjoy the temperate spring and cook on!