I have two reasons for tackling this nude bird.
Number 1: I recently finished Stir by Jessica Fechtor, a food blogger who fell ill and found her strength again through cooking, and I've decided to make all the recipes in it. First being this roast chicken.
I've never cooked my way through an entire cookbook before so I'm really excited about all the things there are to learn along the way!
All of her food sounds delicious and most are things I've never attempted to make - I've roasted chicken before but not with this method!
So if you're looking for a good and fast read, I really enjoyed this one! She draws you in so well with her words and shares such sweet moments from throughout her life involving food, friends and family.
Number 2: The real reason for roasting this chicken is the dish I wanted to make with it afterwards... chicken salad.
My love for chicken salad runs very deep. It is super comforting to me and is like a little bit of childhood. It's one of the few things my mom could make :-P You know it's true, mom!!!! Don't worry, I still love you!
So next up, you'll get chicken salad.
But for now, let's talk about roasting this delicious bird.
Roasting chicken is actually a very simple business and doesn't require a ton of things. Instead of using a roasting rack and pan, we're going to use a cast iron skillet to get that really crispy skin.
Something that is really helpful here is a separate oven thermometer to monitor the temperature throughout roasting. Most ovens are not completely accurate so this will help in achieving that crispy skin as well!
Serve over mashed potatoes, a salad, with roasted vegetables or save it for some chicken salad like us :)
recipe from Jessica Fechtor's book "Stir"
serves about 4 people
1 3- to 4- pound chicken, giblets removed
A few sprigs of fresh herbs, I used rosemary
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt per pound of chicken (If using a kosher chicken that is already salted, reduce to 1/4 teaspoon per pound)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 24-48 hours before you'd like to roast your chicken, pat the bird completely dry with paper towels both inside and out. Using your fingers, separate the skin from the meat over the breasts and thighs to create pockets. Slide an herb sprig into each pocket. Season all over with salt and pepper, including a bit inside the cavity. I suggest rubbing more of your salt and pepper into the breast and thigh area, where the meat is thicker, and less so in smaller areas of the bird, like the wings and drumsticks. Refrigerate uncovered for 24-48 hours.
- 30 minutes before you're ready to roast the chicken, remove from the fridge and pat dry with more paper towels. Preheat your oven to 475˚.
- Once the oven is heated, place a large cast iron skillet over medium heat and heat for about 4 minutes, until nice and hot. Set the chicken breast-side up in the pan. You should heard it sizzle. Place the skillet in the oven.
- In 20 minutes, check to see that the skin is crisping. If you have an oven thermometer, check to see that your temperature is holding at 475˚. I had to raise our oven to 500˚ because it runs a bit cooler. If the skin is smoking or turning black (although a little smoke is expected!), turn your oven down to 450˚.
- After 30 minutes of roasting, flip the chicken over to breast-side down. Roast for another 15 minutes. Flip one more time to re-crisp the skin, about 5-10 more minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the oven (be careful of the flying juices!!) and check that the temperature is at 165˚ at the hip meat, where the breast and leg meat. Move the bird to a cutting board or plate to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.
An oven thermometer is really helpful here as ovens vary and function all over the board. For example, our oven runs about 15˚ cooler than what it tells me on the screen, so it helped to have a separate thermometer to track the temperature throughout. In order to get that crispy skin, you really want to have the temperature up high enough so this small investment is pretty worth it in my eyes!
Smoke is expected when you're roasting meat at high temperatures like this. You have been warned. Have your smoke detector waving apparatus ready and keep an eye on that bird the whole time!
To make my favorite chicken salad recipe using this chicken, check out the recipe here!