I had Alex get a whole chicken from the Meat Salesroom. I’d heard they were really good! I was very excited to cook it.
I decided that I wanted to use some of the fresh thyme that I still had. More specifically, I wanted thyme, lemon, and probably some garlic in the recipe. I didn’t want the flavors to overwhelm the chicken.
Ultimately I decided to make Perfect Roast Chicken, a recipe from the Barefoot Contessa on Food Network. Prepping the chicken was pretty easy. It was easy to find and remove the neck and such from it, whereas I’ve had trouble in the past with regular, commercially processed poultry (primarily huge turkeys, I suppose). I put lemon, thyme, and minced garlic (no whole heads of garlic around for me) in the cavity, rubbed the skin with olive oil (I don’t like butter), and seasoned with salt and pepper.
I tried to remember how I thought a roast chicken should be cooked. I’ve got a meat thermometer and I like to use it, so I guessed that I should let the breast reach 160F and then let it rest to reach 165F. Most instructions that call for temperatures give the temperature for a thermometer inserted in the thigh, but while that would work on a big turkey, I couldn’t figure out exactly where a meaty part of the chicken thigh was. [I also didn’t think to look this up until I needed to get the chicken in the oven, so I didn’t have time to figure it out.] I put the chicken on a bed of onions, carrots, and potatoes with some thyme and olive oil, but I wish I had had fennel in the house to use instead.
I was pretty happy with the chicken. The skin crisped up very, very well. I did overcook the breast a little, though, but I’m not sure that the thigh was done. Alton Brown puts a breastplate on his turkeys to get them to cook evenly, and I may have to try that with chicken, too. The vegetables needed a little liquid with them, which the fennel would have provided, to get them to cook evenly and more thoroughly.
I liked this recipe. It was simple and not overwhelming. I’ve so many other recipes around, though, that I’m not sure if I would make it again. In any case, I’m going to have to figure out the best way to roast a chicken so that it’s cooked evenly and thoroughly.