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Roasted Chicken Recipe

The day that I made my roasted potatoes, I actually also created a roasted chicken recipe. I hadn’t roasted a chicken in years and thought it was high time.  I actually want to get to the point where I have basic recipes for pork, chicken, beef, etc, and then I can use those recipes as the basis for other recipes.  It’s all about the building blocks.  Solid foundations equal solid cooking.  That’s another one of my mottos.

Something I like to do when roasting a chicken is to prepare the chicken in a brine solution prior to roasting.  That does add about three hours to the inactive prep time, but in the end it provides a much more juicy and flavorful bird.  Definitely worth the extra time.  Not really any extra effort but extra planning time.  At some point, my friend Chef Todd Pulsinelli (of the American Sector) was kind enough to give me his brine ratio which I list below.

Roasted Chicken with rosemary potatoes

An added bonus to brining the chicken is that you don’t need to add any other salt to the chicken.  The meat is very moist and flavorful just from the brine alone.  Prior to place the bird in the oven, I do recommend rubbing the chicken with butter on the outside so that the skin browns and crisps well.  And really, how can you go wrong with adding a little butter to something?

Another step that’s very important when preparing to roast a chicken is to truss the bird. Trussing is a method of tightly tying your bird with twine to ensure even cooking and to keep the bird’s breast moist. There’s a great video by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn that easily explains what trussing is and how to do it.  Much more effective (and easier for you) to see a video than for me to try to explain it here in print.

Roasted Chicken with Mirepoix

You may notice in my pictures that my bird isn’t trussed 100% properly. I bought this chicken from Whole Foods, and they removed the neck so I had to do a modified version up around the top of the bird.  It’s all good though because it still came out great.

One last note about mirepoix.  In classic French cooking, this mixture is carrots, celery and onions (usually leeks too).  I have added these here plus garlic to provide aromatics for the bird and to lend some additional flavor.  They are optional, especially if you’re making this bird for a chicken salad or some other use besides just having it for dinner.

Roasted Chicken on platter

The main reason I like to use the mirepoix is because once I’ve fully deboned the chicken, I like to throw the aromatics and the carcass together and make a stock.  Just add water to those ingredients and  simmer for an hour and you’ll have a flavorful, gelatinous stock that can be used as a base for many soups, sauces and gumbos.

A quick note about roasting.  I roast my chicken at an even 400 ºF for a whole hour and twenty minutes.  Some methods call for starting around 475-500 ºF to quickly cook the outside of the bird and crisp the skin then turn down to finish the roasting.  Both are right, neither wrong.  I kept lower due to the butter on the outside. I definitely didn’t want the butter to burn, and I find when the chicken is buttered, it provides a nice brown crispy crust just the way I like.  So just know, to each his own – just be sure to turn that oven down if you go with the heat blast to start.

Roasted Chicken with Potatoes

Tips:

  • An insta-read cooking thermometer is another essential kitchen tool.  It is very important keep track of the internal cooking temperatures for items like poultry and pork.  Very dangerous to eat those meats below proper temperature.
  • Once you have a meal from the chicken, debone the chicken and store the meat and bones separately.  You’d be doing yourself a big favor if you made a simple chicken stock from the bones and left over vegetables.
  • If you’d like to add potatoes to the roasting pan, you may do so. I suggest you coat them very lightly with oil and a little salt and add them at the beginning of the roasting process.

I think that covers all of our bases, on to the recipe!

Yield: 4-6 servings

Roasted Chicken Recipe

This roasted chicken remains very juicy due to the brine soak that takes place prior to baking. The chicken is succulent and very flavorful. This recipe is very easy overall and the resulting chicken is far superior to non-brined chicken.

Ingredients:

Brine:
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
Chicken:
  • 1-4 pound chicken
  • 1 tablespoon butter (for use after brining and trussing)
Optional Mirepoix:
  • 1 cup large diced onion
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup large diced celery
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped garlic

Method:

Brining the Chicken:
  1. Combine all brining ingredients in a large pot or bowl. Stir well.
  2. Add chicken and make sure it is submerged. Add a little more water if needed.
  3. Refrigerate for about 3 hours.
Trussing the Chicken:
  1. After you remove the bird from the brine, it is time to truss.
  2. As I mentioned earlier, for even cooking and moisture retention, I recommend that you truss your chicken. It's pretty easy overall and just requires butcher's twine.
  3. Again, this video by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn gives a brief but great demonstration of how to truss a chicken.
  4. After you truss the chicken, smear the outside of the bird with the butter.
  5. Place in a roasting pan breast side down.
  6. About 20 minutes before you're ready to roast the chicken, pre-heat oven to 400 ºF.
Roasting the Chicken:
  1. Once the oven is pre-heated, place the roasting pan in the center rack and cook for 40 minutes.
  2. After 40 minutes, add the mirepoix and cook for another 40 minutes. When done, the internal cooking temperature of the chicken should be at least 160 degrees F.
  3. Once the internal temperature of the chicken reaches the proper range, pull the bird from the oven. Allow it to sit 20-25 minutes so the juices can settle.
  4. Carve and serve, preferably with rosemary roasted potatoes.

Prep Time includes 3 "inactive" hours for brining.

Prep:3 hours 30 min

Cook:1 hour 20 min

Total:4 hour 50 min

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