Sunday, March 15, 2009

Who's a Pretty Bird?

Safeway had whole chickens on sale this week for $0.79 a pound, so you can bet your rumpus that we're having us some chicken. (And probably will be for several days.)

My biggest problem with roasting chicken is that I never really know how long or at what temperature to roast it. I usually consult several recipes trying to figure it out, but they all say somewhere between 350° and 425° for somewhere between 1 hour to 2 hours. Not a whole lot of help. And it doesn't seem to matter what temperature I roast it at, it always takes longer than the given time and it always sets off the smoke alarm.

Thanks to our Home Owners' Association rules, all hood fans in our complex vent back into the kitchen rather than to the outside. Something about preserving the integrity of the building by limiting the number of holes to the outside. Whatever. All I know is that we need to open the sliding glass door and turn on the fan, aiming it at the smoke detector any time we roast or grill. I used to look forward to using the oven in the winter as a passive way to warm the house while I'm cooking. Not anymore. You can bet I'll be checking the hood fan in our next home before we buy.

Anyhow, I cooked our bird last night. Scoob will do somersaults for roasted chicken, so he's a happy camper. Scoob found this video a while back on how to roast a chicken. We hated cleaning our huge turkey roasting pan which we used to use for roasting chicken as well. Now I use coiled aluminum foil in a smaller pan as suggested in the video. Clean up has been so much easier. I also took the video's note about not needing to rinse the chicken to heart. It doesn't really change the end result, it just speeds up the prep.

Roasted Chicken

Cooking time: 1½ - 2 hours

    1 whole chicken, nasty bits removed
    Ground thyme
    Ground coriander
    kosher salt (way less sodium than table salt)
    ground pepper
    extra virgin olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 400° and prep your roasting pan.
  2. Unwrap your bird and pat it dry, tucking the wingtips under the back.
  3. Smear the olive oil all over the outside.
  4. Sprinkle the outside of the bird with the thyme, coriander, salt and pepper, and rub the inside with same adding the sage.
  5. Cook for 1½ - 2 hours, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches a minimum of 165°.

And after the commercial break in which an hour and a half has miraculously passed…
Due to my issues with cooking times and the smoke alarm, I no longer put stuffing or other things (like onion) in the cavity. I also very rarely truss the legs. Eliminating these things has seemed to help the chicken cook faster and reduces the amount of time I need to have the door open and the fan on.

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