As Kelsey Nixon writes in her new cookbook, Kitchen Confidence, roast chicken was one of the first meals she learned how to make. Her mother gave her the basics, and she has tweaked the seasoning over time. This Moroccan-inspired version is infused with a plethora of warm spices. Nixon whips up a simple, seasoned compound butter, which is then slathered all over the chicken. A lemon, an onion, and some garlic add aroma to the inside of the bird. Potatoes roast alongside, slowly sucking up the dripping chicken juices, turning crisp and caramelizing in the hot oven.
Why I picked this recipe: Who can say no to a roast chicken dinner?
What worked: Not much can beat a simple roast chicken; rubbing the bird down with butter and fragrant spices makes the dish even better.
What didn't: It's difficult to spread butter on cold chicken skin. Let the bird come to room temperature first to make the process easier.
Suggested tweaks: If you're using a large roasting pan, you'll have room to add more vegetables if you'd like. A couple of carrots and parsnips would work well, as would halved Brussels sprouts.
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. She blogs at Cooking Wolves. Follow her @KateHWiliams.