Monday, December 19, 2011

Roast Chicken: Comfort Food

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Roast chicken breast side down
Around my house a comfort food dinner is roast chicken.  This may seem like a no-brainer thing to make but it took me years to actually get it right every time I make it.  The key - using a thermometer and lower oven temperature.  I really can't judge by length of time, or color, or if the juices run clear or if the legs are pulling away from the body, or any other indicator.  Those all work in a pinch, but I have found when I use visual signs of the chicken being done most often it is overcook and I end up with dry meat that is a tad tough.  Another great thing is that a perfect tasting roast chicken takes nothing more than salt and pepper.  That's it.  You can do other flavorings like rosemary, lemon, orange, curry, Vietnamese chili sauce or a dozen other great combinations, but it is not needed.  Humble roast chicken, when done right, is wonderful all on it's own.

Roast Chicken

Michelle K.


  • 1 whole chicken, rinsed and dried (3-4 lbs.)
  • 1 tbs salt
  • pepper to taste


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. Generously salt the chicken being sure to cover every part and add a dash to the cavity. It will look like you are over salting it, don't worry, you need it. Add as much pepper as you would like.
  3. Insert your thermometer (if you are using a remote thermometer) into the chicken breast about 1 1/2 inches deep, making sure it does not touch any bone and does not punch through to the cavity. Place your chicken into a baking dish that is at least 2 inches deep. If you are not a skin eater, place the chicken breast side down. If you are, breast side up. Breast side down will give you a bit moister chicken when it is done but both methods work fine.
  4. Place the chicken into your oven on the middle rack. Roast until the thermometer reads 165-170 (at the very most). I find 170 is starting to get a little dry for my tastes but some may find 165 not quite done enough. Try it out for yourself until you find the done-ness you prefer.
  5. Once the chicken reaches 165, remove it from the oven. This is a key step -- don't carve it until it has had a chance to rest in the baking dish for 10 minutes. You will be surprised how much of the juices in the bottom of the pan will be soaked back up by the chicken during this resting time. It will also finish cooking those last 5+ degrees, easily reaching the recommended 170 for poultry.
Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 00:10
Cook time: 01:00 approximately


Calories: 361
Total carbs: 0