Roast chickens are totally misunderstood. Often thought to be difficult, or unapproachable, I find them one of the easiest meals to prepare. In fact, they’re often a go-to for me when I don’t actually feel like cooking, but want a from-scratch comforting meal. Plus, it’s no coincidence that magazine after magazine noted, if there’s one dish in the entire world that could generate a proposal out of someone, it’s a perfectly roasted chicken.
Here’s why a roast chicken needs to be in your repertoire:
1. No cooking prior to roasting
2. The oven does all the work
3. Veggies/starch are cooked in the same pan, at the same time
4. Crispy Skin
5. Ummm Crispy Skin
It’s quite the dispute on how to achieve the perfect roast chicken, after all, every cook has their own fool-proof method…. Only salt and pepper. Only butter. Only olive oil. Butter and Olive Oil. Stuff the cavity with aromatics. An even high temperature. High temp, low temp. Every method IS THE ABSOLUTE ONLY WAY TO ROAST A CHICKEN.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret….there is no “right” method.
My preferred – not necessarily right –method is smothering a dry bird with softened butter and a liberal dousing of salt. I then stuff the cavity with onion, garlic and lemon to infuse as much flavor into the meat as possible. Roasting at a super high temperature for a short period of time ensures a super crispy skin and then the temperature is reduced to keep the chicken moist and tender. Simple as can be.
This time, instead of smothering the skin with plain butter, I switched things up a bit by mixing the softened butter with some lemon zest and fennel fronds. The bottom of the pan is lined with russet potato wedges, sliced fennel and Spanish olives, completing the meal.
Comfort food at its finest…
- 1-5 lb roast chicken
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon fennel fronds
- 1 lemon + 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 large potatoes cut into wedges
- ½ cup Spanish olives
- Fennel bulb, sliced thin
- 1 onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Combine butter, fennel fronds and zest. Smother over chicken and under skin.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper.
- Place potato in the bottom of roasting pan. Place chicken on roasting rack and cook for 25 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and add sliced fennel and olives to potatoes.
- Cook another 50-60 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Tossing the vegetables a couple time throughout the process. The internal temperature should be 165 degrees and any juices from the chicken should be clear.
- Let rest for 15 minutes before craving.