Ina’s Perfect Roast Chicken
My favorite show in the Food Network is, hands down, the Barefoot Contessa. I love Ina Garten’s approach to food and cooking. She makes classic food really, really well. I love her rhetorical questions “Who wouldn’t want to eat that?” or “How good does that look?” Awhile ago I saw her recipe for “engagement roast chicken.” Later that same week I read a quote from Ms. Ina that said “If you only learn how to cook one thing, cook roast chicken because it makes your house smell good.” Ultimately, I settled on her “perfect roast chicken” because I wanted there to be lots of veggies to go along with it. I don’t actually eat chicken, but I am not opposed to eating the veggies that have been baked in the chicken juices.
A few notes about this recipe. First, after reading the oodles of comments on the recipe over at the Food Network Site, I was paranoid that the veggies would burn. Many people said that theirs burned. To guard against this, I cut the veggies in very large chunks and made sure they were coated with olive oil on all sides. Also, my new roasting pan (thanks Mom!) has fairly thick walls which I think helped to guard against burning. I thought they were perfect. Some of them had black edges or sides, but their flavor was wonderful and caramelized. Elias, the resident meat taste tester for mrssmithcooks.com said that the meat was nice and juicy and that the lemon garlic flavor really came through the meat. I doubled most of the veggies and added the glaringly absent (in my opinion) potatoes. I think this would be a really impressive dish to serve to company, and perfect because all of the work is done ahead of time.
Perfect Roast Chicken, adapted from Ina Garten
1 (5 to 6 pound) chicken
1 large bunch fresh thyme, separated
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 Tablespoons melted butter
2 large onions, quartered
8 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
2 bulbs of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
4 medium baking potatoes, quartered
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
2. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator while you prepare the veggies
3. Prepare the veggies by washing and chopping. Toss liberally with olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme leaves from 1/2 the bunch of thyme.
4. Prepare the chicken by rinsing inside and out and patting dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the inside of the chicken with the remainder of the thyme, the lemon and the garlic. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wingtips under the body of the chicken.
5. Place the chicken on top of the veggies in the roasting pan.
6. Brush the chicken with the melted butter.
7. Roast for 90 minutes or until the juices run clear when a knife is inserted between the leg and thigh.
8. Remove the chicken and vegetables and cover with foil. Allow to rest for 20 minutes.
9. Cut the chicken in to pieces and serve on a platter with the vegetables.