Chicken is by far the most popular meat product to purchase for the home cook. It may be the ease of access to the product, its neutral flavor or simply the price point. For others nutritional content or its ability to take on any flavor combination is the most important aspect to this ever-versatile ingredient. Cooking chicken, no matter the cut or cooking method, can be mastered by anyone just by learning the fundamentals as you would for any sport. The hand eye coordination used to hit a baseball starts with youngsters hitting off a tee before hitting a live pitch; the same applies to roasting a whole chicken.Starting with the whole bird instead of just one particular cut of chicken will help you learn basic roasting techniques. To some working with such a large piece of meat can be intimidating, but just as hitting a baseball of a tee to get the “feel” of hitting, roasting a whole chicken will allow you to see, hear, feel and smell the fundamentals.Cooking, like hitting a baseball, is a visual action, but in cooking other senses are used to ensure a perfect final product. As you try this basic roasted chicken method you will have to use your other senses as well. Feel: The first step of roasting any piece of meat is to make sure it feels dry to the touch. Use paper towels to pat the outer and inner part of the chicken dry. In doing so you have created the proper environment to roast, any additional moisture will start a steaming process, roasting is all about making the outside crispy all the while keeping the inside moist. Sound: Cooking is just as audible as it is visual; one of the first steps in roasting the proper chicken is slow pan searing the bird. Making sure that you have the proper heat under the pan is crucial and can be determine by sound. You will hear the sizzle as you place the chicken in the pan. This “sizzle” should be a mellow sound, a slow soft constant “sizzle”. If the oil is popping out of the pan and the “sizzle” is too loud to talk over, your heat is too high. Smell: Obviously, is a very important sense in basic cooking. While the chicken is slow pan searing you should only smell mellow hints of the fat being rendered out of the skin, if you smell anything stronger you know it is time to rotate the chicken to another position to give that area a moment of rest.Ok, now you are ready to give it go. Practice these fundamentals using this recipe for the “Perfect Roasted Chicken”. Chef Troy Online Roasting LessonYou can get a “visual” roasting lesson with this link online Troy Gagliardo the Perfect Roasted Chicken.
The Perfect Roasted Chicken
Serves 4 as an Entree 1 Each-Whole Chicken- 4 to 6 pounds
To Coat- Canola Oil
To Taste- Kosher Salt
To Taste- Black Pepper
1 Each- Lemon-halved
A Handful- Fresh Herb-parsley, basil, oregano, thyme or cilantro
2 Tablespoon- Unsalted Butter
1/2 Cup- Chicken StockDirections:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees2. Rinse chicken inside and out and let drain leg side down in a clean sink for 5 minutes. Holding chicken over the sink pat dry with paper towels, making sure the chicken is completely dry, inside and out.3. Warm an iron skillet or oven safe pan on the stove over medium to medium-low heat.4. Place the chicken on a baking tray and tuck the wing tips under, securing itself to the rest of the wing. 5. If you would like to truss the chicken refer to my “Perfect Roasted Chicken” video on You Tube, you will need a 3 ft. piece of butchers twine for this technique.6. Lightly coat with oil and rub entire bird by hand to coat evenly. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, inside and out to taste, remember this is a large piece of meat, and season generously.7. Drizzle enough oil in the preheat skillet just to barley cover the bottom of the pan. Once the oil is warm, it should glide easily across the pan when tipped. Place the chicken, breast side down, in the pan. The sizzle should be slow and soft. Let gently sear for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown. Repeat on both wing sides and then place breast up in skillet and then place in the oven and let slow roasted for 20 minutes.8. Once the first 20 minutes is complete add the butter to the top of the chicken and continue to roast, basting every 5 to 10 minutes, until the internal temperature of the deepest part of the thigh reaches 170 degrees.9. Remove from the oven, place chicken on a plate to let rest for at least 15 minutes. Remove the lemon halves and squeeze into the skillet with any remaining chicken drippings, warm over medium low heat, add the chicken stock and whisk together, cook until sauce slightly thickens.10. Cut chicken into 8 pieces, wings, breast, thighs and legs and serve with pan sauce.