Thursday, August 2, 2012

Lemon Rosemary Roasted Whole Chicken

Mmm, once again, I return to my basic roots of impressive, gourmet-ish cooking: large pieces of meat, all cooked at once. This is the most impressive thing you can do for a guest. And it makes a ton of food. Sometimes I'll make a big chicken on a Sunday and then use the leftovers for sandwiches and lunches the rest of the week. 

Total Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Cook Time: 1.5-2.5 hours depending on size of bird

What you will need:

A whole roasting chicken (I typically buy somewhere around 6 pounds)
Olive oil (not pictured)
Fresh rosemary
One lemon
Black Pepper
Sea Salt

Preheat your oven to 350.

Rinse the chicken well, removing all of the giblets and other good things they sometimes pack in the cavity (they are typically wrapped in paper). Cut any excess fat around the neck cavity and around the tushie cavity. Set on a cutting board and pat it dry with paper towels. It's very important to get the chicken as dry as possible.

Next thing you will do will be to put rosemary sprigs between the skin and the meat of the chicken. Essentially, you will stick your fingers between the skin and the meat to loosen the skin a bit, and then take small sprigs of fresh rosemary and scatter them underneath the skin in a variety of areas. It should look something like this:

After you do that, put a whole stalk of rosemary in the big cavity of the chicken. Put the chicken into its roasting pan, breast side up.

Next, cut your lemon in half, and squirt the lemon juice of both halves over the entire chicken and a little into the cavity. Put one half of the lemon into the chicken cavity along with the rosemary; the other half, toss down your kitchen sink garbage disposal to make it smell good.

Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the top of the chicken, along with some salt and pepper.

Next, sprinkle the chicken liberally with paprika. Paprika is going to give the chicken that nice color you see in the first picture, and you really cannot go overboard with the paprika, so don't be afraid of it. Rub the paprika around a bit so that there is an even coating on the top of the chicken. You can even put a little on the bottom, just pick it up on the sides and rub some in, but don't worry about seasoning the bottom as much as a lot of the juice and flavoring will run down into the bottom part of the meat.

Put it in the oven and let it roast! Timing is approximately 20 minutes per pound. I typically like to peek in every 20 minutes and baste the chicken a bit. On one of your rotations, feel free to turn it over and let the bottom get toasty. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature and when it gets to 165 degrees. Don't cook it any more than that, as the temperature will continue to rise a bit after it comes out of the oven, and the worst thing in the world is dry, overcooked chicken!

Pull the chicken out, and let him rest a little bit, because after all, being cooked is hard work. 15-20 minutes, and I like to tent some tin foil over the chicken to keep the heat in, but don't wrap it tightly as that will just start to steam your delightfully crispy skin.

Serve and enjoy!!!!

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