I used to be afraid of cooking birds. There was something about roasting a whole chicken or turkey that scared me. I guess I was afraid of undercooking it and we'd all get salmonella or overcooking it and one of us choking on it, but really there's not a whole lot to it. As long as you have a meat thermometer or even use the old "cut at bone and juices run clear" technique, anyone can cook a mean chicken or turkey. And once you've done it a couple times, you'll gain the confidence you need and not think twice about whippin' up one of these guys for dinner.
I like cooking whole chickens 'cause first of all, they're delish (I have my boys saying that now--"Mom, this cake is DELISH!") and secondly, you can get a couple meals out of it. The first night we eat the chicken with the veggies that accompany it, then later I'll make a big ol' pot of chicken noodle (or rice) soup. It feeds a lot. And for not a lot of money. And that's what I like to call a win/win. And seriously, look at that crispy, golden skin. I'm not ashamed to admit that's my favorite part. Man...my mouth's watering just thinkin' about it.
So here's my recipe for roasting a chicken. I always cook veggies with it too--this case on the bottom of the chicken. That way, all the juices from the roasting chicken flavor the veggies. It's quite delish, if I may say so myself.
1 (4-5 lb) roasting chicken
Kosher salt and pepper
1 whole head of garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons butter, melted
potatoes cut in bite-size pieces
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Place carrots, cut-up potatoes, and sliced onion on bottom of roasting pan and drizzle lightly with olive oil and season with salt & pepper.
Remove and discard the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Place in pan on top of veggies. Cut the lemon in half and place in the cavity along with the garlic and some thyme. Melt butter, adding about 2 tablespoons olive oil to it and brush the chicken. Sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, and more thyme.
Roast chicken for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh (160-165 degrees). Remove from oven and cover chicken with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
I can cook a chicken, but please don't ask me to cut it. That's Mitch's job.