People are often daunted by the idea of roasting a chicken. But really, it's one of the easiest recipes in the world, and calls for very few ingredients. What's more, aside from a few minutes of preparation at the beginning, it's a dish that is largely hands-off, so you can focus on preparing side dishes or doing other things while it's in the oven. My recipe here is seasoned just with lemon, garlic and butter, but once you see how easy it is to roast a chicken, you'll want to play around with your own favorite flavors. You can use olive oil to rub over the chicken or stuff the cavity with sprigs of herbs or big chunks of onions, or mix dried or fresh herbs into the butter. Serve roast chicken with an equally comforting side dish, such as Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Ginger or Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
Special Cooking Equipment Needed: Cast-iron skillet (10 or 12 inches), poultry baster, kitchen twine
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
Yield: 3 to 4 servings
- 1 whole roasting chicken, 3 to 4 pounds
- 2 tablespoons butter, very soft
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 1 lemon, quartered
- Preheat the oven to 450˚F. Put a cast iron skillet in the oven as it preheats. Rinse the chicken and pat dry with a paper towel. Trim excess fat away.
- In a small bowl, mix the butter and the garlic together. The butter should be very soft and spreadable. Using your clean hands, rub the butter over the entire chicken. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper, and put the lemon pieces in the cavity. Truss the chicken with kitchen twine to hold the wings and legs in place, so they'll cook evenly.
- Remove the skillet from the oven, place the chicken in the skillet breast side up, and return the skillet to the oven. Cook for 50 to 60 minutes, removing the chicken from the oven halfway through cooking to baste it with the juices that have gathered in the pan. The chicken is done when the skin is crisp and golden, and the internal temperature measures 160˚F to 165˚F when measured with a meat thermometer. Let the chicken sit for 5 to 10 minutes before carving.