Simple Roast Chicken

Here we are, beginning of summer, the southwest is getting mauled by a record heat wave, and I am thinking

about roast chicken.  Maybe it’s just too hot to go out and grill.  I love the process of roasting a chicken almost more than eating the chicken.  Your house will smell divine, and in reality, it’s an easy dinner.  Maybe cut a few potatoes and place around the chicken, brussels sprouts, carrots… whatever seems good.  Whatever fits your mood.

Roast chicken is traditionally a fall/winter dish, so think along the lines of root vegetables.  Of course there’s nothing wrong with making it any time of year, especially when you’re having a craving for crispy, delicious roast chicken.

Regarding the preparation and cooking process, I posted a roast chicken recipe a long time ago that was complex.  This is not.  The most important things to remember are:

  1. Start with a very dry chicken.  This minimizes steam, giving you a true roast flavor, not a boiled flavor.
  2. Salt and season the chicken inside and out.  You want the flavor to work its way in from both sides.
  3. Truss the chicken.  Even if it’s just tying the legs together tightly.  Trussing pulls the chicken into the best possible roasting position, letting everything cook evenly and thoroughly without over cooking the white meat.
  4. Let it rest.  Cutting a hot chicken is just like cutting a hot steak.  The juices will run, making a mess and leaving you with dry chicken.
This recipe calls for Maldon sea salt, which is easy enough to find.  Maldon sea salt is a sweeter, mild, large crystal salt.  It will help give your chicken that crispy salty flavor without really adding an excessive amount of salt (which I hate).  
Not too hard, right?  Rely on excellent ingredients, a simple cooking process done right, and there you have, excellent roast chicken!
Simple Roast Chicken 
Prep time:  10 minutes
Cook time:  1 hr 20 min
Yield:  3-4 portions


1 small frying chicken, about 3 1/2 lbs
1/2 bunch fresh thyme
1 head of garlic, sliced in half
1 lemon, sliced in half
maldon sea salt
fresh cracked black pepper
olive oil
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp garlic powder


Beginning heating your oven to 400 degrees.  Using plenty of paper towels, dry the chicken well, inside and out.  Place the chicken in a mixing bowl and rub the exposed sliced garlic over all surfaces.  Repeat with the lemon.  And add just enough oil to lightly coat everything, inside and out.  Sprinkle the paprika, onion and garlic on the chicken, again, making sure to get the inside.  Generously apply the salt and pepper, again, inside and out.  Remove a few leaves of thyme (about 1 spring’s worth), rough chop, and sprinkle on top.  Place the remaining thyme, lemon and garlic half in the cavity of the chicken and truss the bird.  To make trussing simple, use butcher’s twice and tie the ends of the legs as tight as possible to each other.  Place aluminum foil over the wing tips and place the bird on a roasting rack or perforated sheet pan.  Roast for about 1 hr, or until the internal temperate is about 150 and the juices run clear.  Remove from the oven, place a piece of aluminum foil over the bird and let rest for 15 minutes.  Carve and serve.


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