While I’m fully aware that skinless boneless chicken breast is perhaps the most flavorless, ill-textured animal protein on the planet, I’m a sucker for its convenience. But it seems half the recipes for anything involving chicken breast require the reloading of flavor, the reintroduction of fat. Which means more ingredients, more steps, and, in the end, more time. I thought: let’s get more elemental. Let’s get in touch with that most old fashioned family protein: a roasted whole chicken.
The scenario: The day was winding to a close. The kids were tired. We were tired. I’d bought a whole chicken at whole foods. All the recipes in my books took too long. I did a “high heat roast chicken” google search. 500 degrees for 50 minutes sounded good, except for the smoky house problem. 450 for 15 minutes, followed by another hour or so at 375 sounded too long. I compromised: 450 for 40 minutes. 20 at 375. It was a slam dunk, helped along by the butter and salt I smeared under the skin, and by the copious grey sea salt and pepper I rubbed on the outside. Oh yeah, the half a lemon and fresh thyme, sage, and rosemary sprigs in the cavity certainly added some flavor.
1 4 pound whole organic, free range chicken
3 tablespoons of butter
4 sprigs each rosemary, sage, and thyme
half a lemon
tons of salt
a little less pepper
Preheat oven to 450. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry. Rub butter under the skin of the breast, throw some salt in there. Salt and pepper the whole thing on the outside. stuff the cavity with herbs and the cut lemon. Put in a roasting pan and roast it at 450 for 30-40 minutes. If the oven starts smoking and your exhaust fan can’t handle it, drop the temp to 375. Roast for another 20 minutes or so, or until an instant read thermometer shows the breast is 165 and the thigh 180. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.
We served ours with a grilled caesar:
romaine or frisee/green leaf hybrid
dressing of anchovies, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, pepper
marinate greens in dressing, reserve a bit. grill greens. grill bread. chop it all up. toss it with reserved dressing. garnish with parm.