Last night for dinner I roasted a chicken. Tragically all my photos turned out blurry, but you can see that it’s a chicken, right?
I got the bird at a great little grocery store called The Pines on Anfu Rd. near Wukang Rd. I love it because it’s always really well-stocked, compared to City Shop which is larger but much more sporadically supplied with the products I love. Plus, City Shop’s chickens are surprisingly scrawny. Pines’ chickens are always chubby, in the best way possible.
Inside the bird: Whole head of garlic, sliced horizontally; 4-5 sprigs (each) of rosemary and thyme; half a lemon, juice squeezed into cavity; 2 large shallots, chopped in half. Outside the bird: dabs of butter under the skin, 2 bay leaves also under the breast skin, herbed salt, plenty of cracked black pepper, olive oil drizzled over top to complete.
Served with roasted shallots, radish, broccoli and brown rice.
In my eagerness to eat I forgot to take pictures of the final product, but imaginations will suffice.
Some tips I’ve learned about chicken-roasting:
- Rinse the bird, inside and out, then dry very thoroughly – the drier the skin, the crispier it will get during the cooking process
- Slip your hand under the skin on the breasts to create an air pocket. Throw some dabs of butter or mayonaise between the skin and the breast to help it crisp (that’s also where I put bay leaves)
- Before it goes into the oven, truss the hell out of it – tie the legs together around the cavity opening and secure the wings against the body for even cooking
- After an hour of roasting, flip the bird upside down – the fattier underside will yield a ton of flavor that is captured in the roasting dish for gravy (flip it back over to the breast side for the last 10-20 minutes of cooking out of a total of about 90 minutes)
- WAIT 5-10 minutes in between removing the bird from the oven and carving it – you lose a ton of juice if you just start hacking the second it gets onto the butcher board
- I don’t have a ‘real’ roasting pan – I place the chicken on top of a cooling rack on top of an edged cookie sheet, which is also where I throw any vegetables I’m roasting at the same time – the bird juices drip all over the veggies and make them even more delicious
Since only two people were eating it, there was a lot of leftover meat. Stay tuned to see what I did with the carcass and leftovers (I despise waste).
Check out Mark Bittman’s simple roast chicken from his days as The Minimalist writer for the New York Times. I enjoy him.