I recently discovered just how amazing roasting a whole chicken is. It was always one of those things that I thought that you should just leave to the more seasoned home cooks, so needless to say, it was always intimidating to me. I figured that if I ever try to roast a chicken, it will come out looking boiled, lack in flavor and probably be under or WAY over-cooked.
I remember perusing a local store one afternoon, when I approached the usual packs of chicken breasts that I buy. Right next to it was a sign that said “69 cents/lb. whole fryer chicken”. I thought to myself…wait, a whole chicken is just $3? I pay more for a latte at Starbucks! So, I got brave and bought a whole chicken.
I brought it home and started looking up recipes to roast a chicken. I wanted it to be simple, because when I’m trying something new, I just want it to be as easy as possible so there’s little room for error. As I’m reading the recipe, it says to remove the giblets. What? I have to remove things from the inside of the chicken? Ugh.
So, I stuck my hand in the cavity of the chicken as if it was some sort of mystery box that was going to bite me or something, dreading the worst. My husband was right next to me laughing so hard, because I’m sure the look on my face was priceless. However, it really wasn’t as bad or gross as I thought. I sort of laughed at myself for being intimidated by those stupid giblets.
After removing the giblets, it was all about seasoning the bird. Seasoning…I can do that. Anyone can do that.
Then, before I could place the chicken in the oven, I had to truss the chicken (aka tie the legs as close to the chicken as possible and make sure the wings are close to the chicken as well to avoid those from over-cooking). Yeah, that wasn’t too bad either. So, I put the chicken in the oven and prayed a few times that I wouldn’t mess this up.
Less than 2 hours later, my chicken was done. Perfectly cooked. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to roast a whole chicken! I was hooked! $3 for a meal, folks…can’t beat that! Plus, you can use leftovers to make soup, pot pie, etc. Oh and double plus, you can use the leftover bones and skin to make chicken stock! Awesome, right?
So, this past week I was back in the grocery store and I saw the ad that said “59 cents/lb whole fryer chicken”. That’s right…59 cents. I bought two chickens this time. One for me to roast and one for my husband to test his new oil-less turkey fryer on.
This time, I decided to try garlic rosemary chicken. Anything with garlic catches my eye, and this involves a LOT of garlic. Like 20+ cloves. Plus, the potatoes catch all of the drippings and roast with garlic cloves, making for some pretty fabulous roasted potatoes.
This recipe was the first one I’ve made that involved brining, but really, that wasn’t too bad either. I noticed that this chicken was much more moist too and I would think that would have to be from the brining. Definitely worth it!
Garlic-Rosemary Roast Chicken with Potatoes
Source: Cooks Illustrated
- 1 whole chicken (about 4 lbs.), giblets discarded
For the brine:
- 1/2 cup table salt
- 10 cloves garlic , unpeeled
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
For the paste:
- 2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
- 2 medium cloves garlic , minced or press through garlic press (2 tsp.)
- 1/8 tsp. table salt
- Ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil plus extra for brushing chicken
For the potatoes:
- 1 1/2 lbs. small red potatoes or Yukon Gold potatoes (2-inch), quartered
- 10 cloves medium-large garlic , unpeeled
- 1 1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp. table salt
- 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
- For the chicken and brine: Combine salt, garlic, and rosemary in zip-loc bag; seal, pressing out air. Pound with meat pounder or rolling pin until garlic cloves are crushed. Transfer mixture to large container or stockpot and stir in 2 cups hot tap water; let stand for 10 minutes to release flavors. Add 6 cups cold tap water and stir until salt is dissolved. Submerge chicken in brine and refrigerate 1 hour.
- Remove chicken from the brine and pat dry with paper towels (the more you dry it, the less it will smoke in the oven since you’re adding oil to it). Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Set V-rack in small roasting pan and lightly spray rack with nonstick cooking spray.
- For the paste: Stir together the rosemary, minced garlic, salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1 tablespoon oil in small bowl. Rub about 1/3 of the paste in cavity of chicken. Carefully loosen skin over breast and thigh on each side; slip half of remaining paste under skin on each side of breast, then, using fingers, distribute paste over breast and thigh by rubbing surface of skin. Tie the ends of drumsticks together with kitchen twine and tuck wings behind back. Rub all sides of chicken with 2 teaspoons oil and season with pepper. Set chicken breast-side down on prepared V-rack and roast 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, toss potatoes, unpeeled garlic cloves, olive oil, and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. After the chicken has roasted for the first 15 minutes, scatter potatoes and garlic in single layer in roasting pan. Then, put the chicken back in the oven and roast for another 15 minutes.
- Remove the roasting pan from oven and decrease oven temperature to 375 degrees. Using tongs or wads of paper towels, rotate chicken breast-side up; brush breast with 1 teaspoon oil and stir potatoes to avoid burning. Continue to roast until chicken is medium golden brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast and thigh registers about 160 and 175 degrees, respectively (this took my oven about an hour). Transfer chicken to large plate.
- While chicken rests, transfer potatoes and garlic to large paper towel-lined plate and pat with additional paper towels to dab off excess oil and drippings. To serve, carve chicken and serve with potatoes and garlic. (If you like more carbs like me, the roasted garlic is excellent on some french bread.)