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Thursday, April 17, 2008

rosemary garlic roast chicken

rosemary garlic roast chicken

Roasting a whole chicken is a satisfying project. It's one of the simplest foods, but it takes a little time (about 2 hours overall, half of which is just waiting while the chicken soaks in brine). It definitely tastes better than any whole roast chicken you can buy, and you can use the leftover chicken on a salad later, which helps justify the time investment. This recipe is from the New Best Recipe cookbook. The addition of potatoes to the roasting pan is optional, but if you're already dirtying up the pan, why not just throw some potatoes in and have a whole meal ready at the same time?

Grocery list: 3-4 pound whole chicken (WF carries the "poulet rouge" brand from Joyce foods, which was just rated as one of the highest quality chickens you can buy -- mail order it's $25, but buying direct from the WF meat counter was only $10!), 20 garlic cloves, 2-3 sprigs rosemary, 1/2 cup kosher salt, 2 pounds baby potatoes.

Start by prepping the chicken: rinse it in cold water, remove the giblets from the inside and rinse in there too. I found a few additional pointers from Cooks Illustrated on little things you can do to help the chicken roast better. With a sharp pointed knife, cut a few holes in the skin down the middle of the chicken's back, as well as a few through the thighs. With your hands, lift up the skin at the breast area and work your way up the front of the chicken, separating the skin from the meat.

prepping brine 2

To prepare the brine, put 10 garlic cloves, 1 sprig of rosemary, and 1/2 cup of salt into a large ziploc bag, and roll with a rolling pin until all the cloves are smashed. Dump the contents of the bag into a stockpot, and add 2 cups of warm tap water.

prepping brine

Wait 10 minutes so the flavors can release, then add 1 1/2 quarts more cool water, submerge the chicken in the brine, and put the pot in the fridge for at least an hour. This helps the meat retain as much as possible of its moisture when it roasts -- it makes a *huge* difference.

chicken in brine

After soaking, remove the chicken from the brine and dry with paper towels. Set the oven rack in the lower third position, and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. If you have a v-rack, set it in the roasting pan and spray with nonstick spray. If you don't have the rack, you can use balls of aluminum foil to prop up the chicken so it roasts evenly and isn't touching too much of the bottom of the pan.

garlic rosemary paste

Make the garlic rosemary paste by mincing 2-3 garlic cloves & 2 tsp of rosemary, and mixing this together with salt, pepper, and 2 T of olive oil. Rub 1 tsp of the paste in the cavity of the chicken. The rest of the paste should be evenly distributed under the skin of the breast, in the little pockets you made earlier. Tie the drumsticks together with twine, tuck the wings behind the back. Rub olive oil on all sides of the skin and season with pepper. Set the chicken breast-side down and roast 15 minutes.

prepping chicken

Meanwhile, clean the potatoes. Toss the remaining garlic cloves with the potatoes in a drizzle of olive oil, season with salt and pepper. After the chicken has roasted for 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and decrease the temperature to 375 degrees. Rotate the chicken breast-side up with tongs, and brush with 1 tsp of olive oil. Add the potatoes to the pan, surrounding the chicken. Return to the oven and roast 20-25 minutes more, till the chicken is 160-170 degrees in the thickest part of the breast and thigh.

roasted chicken

Remove the potatoes to a paper towel-lined plate, let the chicken rest a few minutes, then carve to serve.

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