Whole roasting chickens are a pretty solid staple in our lives right now – we can usually get 2 chicken dinners, a third meal with chicken scraps, and a couple quarts of homemade chicken stock out of a $6 bird (or less, if I buy it on Manager’s Special). That’s hard to beat.
I’ve made roast chicken rubbed with miso paste, drizzled with olive oil, with herbs under the skin, baked breast down, baked breast up, seasoned with only salt and pepper…you get the idea. None of them blew me away. Finally this year I turned out a roast chicken that was pretty near perfect – super juicy and flavorful, and with the best tasting almost-crispy skin. Then I did it again. I have no clue what it is about this combination of ingredients, but it’s made great roast chicken every time. And the best part is – it’s ridiculously easy. So easy that when I when I ran across the recipe this is based on, I almost passed it up because it looked too simple to be the best chicken I’d ever eat. Not to be cheesy, but I’m so glad I gave it a chance.
1 whole roasting chicken (mine are usually ~5 pounds)
4 T. butter
salt and pepper, to taste
1.5 T. onion powder (toasted onion powder is the best, if you can find it)
2 t. garlic powder (also toasted, if you have it)
2 stalks celery, cut into 4″ lengths
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Remove the giblets and pat the chicken dry. Lay the chicken breast-side up in a baking pan and lightly salt and pepper the whole thing, including inside the cavity. Sprinkle the chicken inside and out with the onion and garlic powder, to form a light “crust”. Place the celery and 2 T. butter inside the chicken, and dot the rest of the butter over the outside of the chicken.
Roast the chicken for about 2 hours (more or less depending on the size of your chicken), until the juices run clear when you pierce the breast with a knife, or it registers 180 degrees on a meat thermometer. Once it comes out of the oven, baste the chicken by spooning some of the melted butter and drippings from the bottom of the pan over it. Let the chicken rest for 20 or 30 minutes before slicing in to it.
When you’ve pretty well eaten all the meat, save the carcass! Chicken bones and meat scraps make the best homemade chicken stock. More on that soon!