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Cook the Book: Perfect Roast Chicken

A good roasted chicken is one of the great pleasures in life, but I probably don't need to tell you that. It can be a great weeknight meal or the centerpiece for a special occasion. It's simple, elegant, entirely satisfying, and a fantastic meal for the leftovers factor. I think that I actually enjoy the leftovers more than the chicken right out of the oven, mostly for the mindless picking of the carcass later that evening and the chicken salad that I inevitably make the next morning.

Most great home cooks have a go-to roast chicken recipe, and I'll wager that they are pretty similar to Jamie Oliver's Perfect Roast Chicken from Jamie's Food Revolution. Aside from proper roasting, the most important part of this recipe, or any other roast chicken recipe, is investing a few extra dollars in a good quality chicken. In the intro to this recipe Oliver says, "A bird that's had a happy life is going to taste miles better than one that's been fattened too fast in a tiny cage or dark, overcrowded barn." I couldn't agree more.

In this version the bird is roasted on a bed of roughly chopped celery, carrots, onions, and whole cloves of garlic. The lemony, herby juices drip down onto the vegetables and leave them caramelized with a great layer of chicken fat so that they can be served along side of the dish after roasting. One of Oliver's other great tips is to heat up the lemon before placing it inside the chicken. He recommends using a microwave, but I put mine in boiling water for about a minute and it worked just as well. When I took the lemon out of the chicken it was bursting with juice and just waiting to be squeezed over the roasted bird.

Win Jamie's Food Revolution

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Jamie's Food Revolution to give away this week.

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