Easy Culinary Science for Better Cooking (Page Street Publishing, 2018) by Jessica Gavin breaks down the practical science behind great food without overwhelming the reader. Learn the science how foods interact from a cooking or baking perspective and how to make flavorful, flawless meals consistently. This recipe is a great option for when you have company over.
A crispy whole roasted chicken is the ultimate comfort food to feed a crowd. This recipe is unique because it gives a one-pan meal solution. As the chicken slowly cooks and browns due to the high oven temperatures, the carrots, onions, celery and potatoes also cook and caramelize. Any extra juices can be used to create a delicious pan sauce.
Cook’s NoteMake sure that the thickest part of the chicken reaches the proper temperature, about 160 degrees Fahrenheit for the breast and 170 degrees Fahrenheit for the thighs, before stopping the cooking process. Whole chickens are not affected by carryover cooking, the heat transfer that continues happening after cooking stops. This is because the hollow cavity allows heat and steam to leave, which keeps the chicken from retaining the heat.
Cooking the chicken breast side down first protects the chicken breast from overcooking and drying out. This also enables the back and thighs of the chicken to cook first, as the thighs require longer cooking to reach higher internal temperatures of about 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Halfway through cooking the chicken is turned over so that the chicken breast can roast and become crispy brown.
- 5 lb whole chicken
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 1 3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp chopped rosemary
- 1 tsp chopped thyme
- 1 red onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
- 3 cups celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 4 cups carrot pieces, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 lb baby red potatoes, quartered
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 12 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed, divided
- 10 sprigs thyme, divided
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a small bowl, combine the butter, 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, lemon zest, chopped rosemary and chopped thyme, and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the onion, celery, carrot, red potatoes, olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt and 8 cloves of garlic. Transfer to a large roasting pan or baking dish, at least 13 x 9 x 2.5 inches in size. Scatter 5 sprigs of thyme and the rosemary over the vegetables.
- Prepare the chicken by removing the neck and innards, then dry the inside and outside of the chicken with paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible. Season the cavity with ½ teaspoon of kosher salt and the black pepper, and add the 4 remaining cloves of garlic and the 5 remaining sprigs of thyme. Massage the inside cavity to infuse it with the flavors. Carefully add 1 tablespoon of the butter mixture beneath the skin to cover the breast, and repeat with the other side. If desired, truss the chicken with butcher’s twine. Use the remaining butter to coat the outside of the chicken.
- Make a nest in the center of the vegetables and place the chicken breast side down on top. Roast the chicken for 30 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and, using paper towels and oven mitts, carefully turn the chicken over, breast side up. Roast 30 to 35 minutes, or until the juices run clear and temperature in the thickest part of the breast reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If needed, return the chicken to the oven for more roasting, checking every 5 minutes for doneness. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and rest for 20 minutes.
- Just before serving, set the roasting pan of vegetables over medium heat and reheat the vegetables, turning and glazing with pan juice; season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Cut the chicken and arrange over the vegetables. Serve with a pan sauce if desired.
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Reprinted with permission from Easy Culinary Science for Better Cooking by Jessica Gavin, Page Street Publishing Co. 2018.