I’ve always thought of chicken as the little black dress of the food world. It can be sophisticated for a Friday night or casual for a Sunday lunch. I actually started writing this book with a different chicken recipe in mind, but I started making this version a few months ago and can’t stop. It’s moist, it’s tender—it’s everything you want in a chicken. So whatever you do, just make one . . . or two.
The Perfect Roast Chicken
- One 3-1/2 - 4 pound chicken, a little bigger is no problem
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 1 garlic head, halved crosswise
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil or 2 to 3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 300°F. Place a rack (if you have one, and you should) in a roasting pan large enough to hold the chicken.
- Remove anything from inside the chicken (neck, giblets, etc.) and save for another use. Dry the chicken thoroughly with paper towels. (See the headnote).
- Put chicken on the rack in the roasting pan.
- Salt and pepper the inside of the chicken, then insert the lemon quarters and garlic head.
- Rub outside of the chicken with oil or butter and season well with salt and pepper.
- Tie the legs together with kitchen string (nothing fancy; you just want to keep them from going rogue during cooking) and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.
- Roast in the oven until the skin is nicely browned and the chicken is tender, about 3 hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.
- Remove from the oven and let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before carving.