I have always wanted to roast a chicken, but I always find reasons not to do it. For example, why roast a chicken for one or two? Why not just cook the pieces that are already dismantled and save the time? The thing is though, I really really like roast chicken. Every time my dad makes it, it melts in my mouth it's so moist and tender. My best friend and I were at the farmers market discussing the pros and cons of roasting a chicken: pro - food for several days with infinite possibilities; con - do either one of us own a roasting pan? Anyway, we split the cost of a chicken that I hope lived a very happy life eating and hopping around in the grass. I can't stand the thought of eating one of those crowded up with 1,000 of its chicken housemates chickens.
I wanted a recipe that was simple and straight forward before I really experiment around with herbs, spices, and stuffing, so I went to Mark Bittman for help. The man is a genius. Not only did he offer me a recipe that only required olive oil, salt, and pepper, but he solved my lack of a roasting pan issue. He calls for roasting it in a cast iron pan!
Put the pan in the oven and heat it to 500. Wash the chicken thoroughly and rub with olive oil and salt and pepper.
I know this is a dumb move, but I forgot about pulling the giblets out. It was gross and slimy, which made me painfully aware of the fact that I'm actually eating an animal. Michael Pollan has changed my perspective on being an omnivore so much. This is something that's been on my mind for awhile. I had been eating mostly vegetarian for a couple of months while considering the concept of sustainable versus conventional meat. Then I had a conversation with Ian where he requested in the sweetest way possible that we eat more of it. It was easy for me to say yes because I felt bad that he wasn't eating "man food" and I do actually like meat, but I insisted that we only buy meat that is sustainably raised and organic whenever possible. My diet has been steadily changing to incorporate more foods from local farmers, which is easier to do with produce, but I am still figuring the meat part out. This chicken really helped me change my mind and forced me to dive into this new mindset.
After the oven and pan are heated, carefully put the chicken into the pan and roast for 15 minutes. Lower the oven to 350 and cook until the temperature of the thigh reads between 155 and 165 degrees. It took about 30 more minutes for mine to finish. Let it rest under foil for 5 minutes and serve with your favorite side - quinoa for me, please!
It was absolutely delicious. My only issue was that the skin didn't turn out as golden as I would have liked. I think keeping the temperature at 500 for longer would have helped! Otherwise, it was delightful! Wonderfully moist and tender. Mark Bittman is a great journalist and cook, and with his help, this challenge I've set for myself seems much more manageable.
1 3-5 pound chicken, giblets removed