Go ahead, roast a chicken even if there are only two of you eating!
One of the wonderful things about having friends that love to cook is acquiring beautiful cookbooks from them. My best friend, and possibly the best cook I know, Arielle, recently gave me Simon Hopkinson’s book, Roasted Chicken and Other Stories. My favorite quote — and not because it is printed on the instert, but because it is true — is “good cooking depends on two things: common sense and good taste.” Common sense. That is the key tenant to cooking a good meal. Get to know your ingredients, how they cook, what brightens or sours them. Once you have that figured out you can cook anything. Honestly, you can. I believe in you! I even figured out how to make a tart!
This brings me to the Smith’s favorite bird: the chicken. I love roasting chickens. I roasted my first chicken in Seattle about 7 years ago. I didn’t own a baster, so in order to preserve the moisture and add color to the bird I just kept pouring more olive oil on it every 15 minutes or so. Wow. I don’t know if we thought it was so amazing because it was our first roasted chicken or if I really cooked it to perfection, but I have never been able to replicate the ooos and ahhs that were coming from the table that night. After that, I fell into a normal chicken-making-groove. The Rosemary way to roast a chicken requires stuffing the skin with thyme, rosemary, olive oil, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and mustard. It takes a lot of work. And I don’t think it’s necessary work. So I decided to simplify things and try roasting a chicken the Simon Hopkinson’s way. It was delicous, I mean when using that much butter, what isn’t delicous?! We have been making chicken sandwiches with roasted red pepper spread for lunch this week and they have been wonderful. So go ahead — roast a chicken even if there are only two of you eating for dinner!
Serves 2 – 6
Recipe from Simon Hopkinson’s, Roasted Chicken and Other Stories
1 stick butter, at room temp
4 lb free-range, organic chicken
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
Sprigs of thyme and tarragon
Salt & pepper
Splash of white wine
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Take the butter and smear it all over the bird. This is the fun part — so enjoy. Put the chicken in a roasting pan that leaves enough room to spare — I believe this is so the juices don’t boil around the bird and unevenly cook it. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the bird, placing the lemon halves in the cavity with the herbs and garlic. Splash a little white wine at the bottom of the roasting pan.
Roast chicken for 10 – 15 minutes. Baste. Turn the temperature down to 375 degree F and roast for another 30 – 45 minutes more. Baste occasionally. The bird is done when it is golden brown all over with a crisp skin and nut brown colored buttery-lemony juices at the bottom of the pan.
Turn off the oven and let the bird sit for 15 minutes inside with the door ajar. Carve the bird and serve pouring some of the wine/lemon/butter juice over the meat.