A Sarcastic Appetite

The Best Roast Chicken, or Why My Cholesterol is Borderline High
May 4, 2009, 10:04 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Some days, it still amazes me that I can pick up a cookbook, flip it open, and have at least a vague understanding of what I’d need to do to get a successful result. In college I could barely pour a bottle of 10-minute marinade over a boneless, skinless chicken breast and cook it correctly. I lived with people who could throw a great dinner together with whatever was in the fridge; that was beyond me. I could, however, make you a great cocktail, no matter what I had lying around. This was partly due to the fact that while some people buy things like chicken stock, pasta, and fresh vegetables every time they go to the grocery store, regardless of whether they’re needed, I bought limes, lemons, ginger beer and club soda. We all have our strengths, I suppose, and for years I was convinced that I had inherited my maternal grandmother’s ability to entertain and her inability to boil water.

And yet, in spite of myself, when I moved to New York I began to do more of what everyone else in this city seems to do less: cook, and cook well. I began to read cookbooks the way my mother does, the way some people read magazines. I bought Bon Appetit and Gourmet and would pick up cookbooks at Barnes & Noble on the slightest whim. My life in the kitchen began to flourish; my checking account, less so. I also started cooking longer, more involved meals on Sundays, when I had the time and the willingness to spend an afternoon in the kitchen.

These days, that’s not always the case; things happen. (Ok, let’s be honest, by that I mean my Saturday night often gets in the way.) So I love this roast chicken. It involves stuff I always have on hand, and just a few things I have to pick up. And it is so so tasty. I felt like I had accomplished something when I could throw this together and own it. It is not for the faint of heart, however, and I mean that literally: there will be enough fat on the bottom of the roasting pan that you may begin to feel twinges somewhere deep inside your chest. Those are your scared little arteries, and they are pansies. Ignore them, and mash some potatoes with a melted stick of butter to serve alongside the chicken. And a salad, I guess, if you’re feeling constitutional.


Roast Chicken

1 4lb. chicken (or thereabouts; a little less is ok) – shell out for the nice organic, free range and hormone-free kind

1/2 stick butter, softened

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

zest of one lemon (keep the lemon to stuff inside the chicken)

heaping 1/2 tsp ground coriander

a handful of whatever fresh herbs you have on hand, minced – usually I do a mixture of rosemary, tarragon, and thyme

lots of salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350º. Remove any innards from the chicken and discard, or save for another use. Pat the chicken dry and place in a roasting pan over some quartered onions, or stale french bread, or nothing at all – it doesn’t matter, I promise. In a bowl, mash the softened butter with the rest of the ingredients, and mix well to combine.

Slather the herbed butter over the chicken. All over. Some recipes will tell you to get it under the skin; I’ve never bothered and the end result has never been anything but delicious. Quarter the lemon, or leave it whole and prick it all over with a fork; then shove it inside the chicken. Bake for an hour and a half. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.

(Normally at this point I’d have an “after” photo to share with you…but we ate it before I could pull myself together to take one. Oops.)

7 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Oooh, this is how I like to do my roast chickens, too! Whenever I have a bunch of herbs left over from something else, I like to throw them into the food processor with a little lemon zest and garlic s+p and butter and form it into logs. Keep that in the freezer, and anytime I want to roast a chicken- VOILA! HERB BUTTER!!

Comment by Jacque

tried to email you but it came back “failure”…love this and having fun copying recipes…would love to touch base..email me so I can get your address…XXOX
Big K

Comment by Kristin Patterson

[…] together and say a little prayer for my arteries – which, as we know, already get a workout around […]

Pingback by Chocolate Chip Cake with Chocolate Frosting « A Sarcastic Appetite

[…] I didn’t bother with a resolution this year, since I only make it to about April before I throw in the towel. Last year my resolution was “to be more grateful.” …..Now I guess we all know how that ended. Anyway, I may not bother with the resolution part of things but I certainly embrace the post-holiday-detox part of things….as long as it doesn’t last more than a week. (Pardon my short attention span.) I like to lay off the meat for a bit, and load up on veggies, so these lentils are a perfect way to ease into that. The original recipe, for which I have Adam Roberts of Amateur Gourmet to thank, is made with bacon, which I have obviously omitted here. I have to say, however, that having made it both ways, I much prefer it without; the bacon makes it quite greasy. I swear I can feel my arteries clenching up as I write this. And we all know I don’t need much more of that. […]

Pingback by Virtuous Lentils « A Sarcastic Appetite

[…] standby is roasted chicken and steamed broccoli….but something tells me she’s not using my recipe for it. The chicken here had a little spice rub, but sorely needed a sauce – which of course […]

Pingback by Diet Dinner #3: Sauteed Zucchini with Mint & Tomato Salad « A Sarcastic Appetite

[…] I’m smothering a roast chicken with softened butter, I rarely cook poultry that’s not boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I’m happy to […]

Pingback by One Pot Lemon Chicken & Rice « A Sarcastic Appetite

[…] the meantime, I’ll make more stuff like this quinoa salad, which is healthier than, say, my Roast Chicken, but sports enough olive oil and goat cheese so I don’t feel like I’m, ahem, denying […]

Pingback by Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Spinach, Goat Cheese & Chicken « A Sarcastic Appetite

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: