January 22, 2006

The Lazy Way to Roast a Chicken

Forget kitchen twine (who has that on hand?) and pacing around in expectant circles, basting and changing the oven temperature. This is the lazy way to roast a chicken.

All you’ll need is a 3-4 pound whole fryer-broiler chicken, a cake pan to squeeze it into, and an hour and half to sit around while the chicken sizzles away in the oven and makes your entire apartment smell great. This technique has never failed me in yielding super-juicy chicken.

A little chicken this size will make skimpy-ish servings for four, but I think it’s best shared between you and a friend on a Sunday night with plenty of leftovers to use during the week in chicken quesadillas with chipotle-sour cream, late night chicken sandwiches with tons of mayonnaise, or a spicy chicken corn chowder.

I mention two tools in this episode that are by no means necessary (I have neither but could probably use both), but certainly make things a little easier. An oven thermometer is helpful in ancient and sometimes unreliable rental apartment ovens. The thermometer hangs right on the rack in your oven, letting you know how hot it actually is inside, no matter what the exterior dial might claim. Clearing up that discrepancy sooner rather than later can save you a lot of heartache, particularly when you’re baking.The other tool I mention is a meat thermometer. It looks kind of like a needle with a dial at the end, and you can stick it right into your chicken (or leg of lamb or steak or whatever) to find out if it’s done. It’s a cool tool to have since it saves you from wrecking the presentation of your dish by cutting into it before it gets to the table. Since, however, we opted not to tie our chicken’s legs together and left them splayed open in a rather unladylike manner, presentation might not be our highest priority at this juncture. All the same, each time you plunge a fork or knife into your chicken, you’re releasing juices that really ought to stay inside to keep things, well, juicy.

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  • p to the bg: amazing and delicious
    10 years ago

  • Beth: Sarah! I love your project! I have been thinking about a similar blog theme, but there is no way I could match the hip Sarah style and wit. I can’t wait to read and watch more. -Beth
    10 years ago

  • megan: que inspiring – i’ve cooked chicken twice since this was posted – neither time whole, but nevertheless the first and second time i’ve cooked meat in years. years!
    10 years ago

  • The American Geordie: Roast chicken. Truly one of the great things in life.

    I’ve eaten at some good restaurants in the city. But do I remember what I ate, for example, at Bouley? Not at all. Daniel? Maybe one course out of six.

    What I do remember is the roast chicken I had at the French Roast uptown on Broadway. It was a cold night, and I needed some homestyle love on a plate. That was it. Nothing fancy, just right.
    10 years ago

  • Genevieve: This is a fantastic project! Thanks for doing it. I just tried your chicked method and it is the first time my roasted chicked has been PERFECT! By the way, for larger chickens (mine was 7 lbs) the timing is 30 minutes per pound.

    I’ll be here often.

    10 years ago

  • Ann: Great recipe for chicken! But remember to wash your hands after you’ve handled raw chicken and before you touch anything else in your kitchen. For a change of flavor, cut a lemon into quarters and stick it inside the chicken with a generous sprinkling of dried tarragon and a knob of butter. Bon appetit!
    P.S. I love your videos!!!
    10 years ago

  • Elizabeth: Sara you are too much…in a great way. I’ve migrated back east. Let’s roast things together. Or at least sip something frothy. If nothing else, lets gush about doing one of the above.
    10 years ago

  • lauren: hi, just randomly found your site and i love the concept. i don’t want my chicken to be pink – i want perfection. i have the same herbs (from whole foods!) + i’m going to try this out.

    thanks again!

    9 years ago

  • Deborah: I love this cute instructional video!
    8 years ago

  • Karol: hi sarah– i’m actually roasting my first chicken tonight, but was feeling nervous about it. luckily, i just came across this posting, and now i’m super excited! i’m definitely looking forward to checking out the rest of your site, and it looks like i have a lot to catch up on. it’ll be like watching an entire tv series on DVD. keep up the good work, girl!
    7 years ago

  • betya: hi…….this is quite interesting but you don’t have the temperature at which to cook the chicken on this page, nor the minutes per pound…….would certainly like to know for sure…….and if possible any changes that would be necessary if the chicken was stuffed…….thanks…….betya6 years ago

  • clotilde: Has anybody ever told you that (in this video at least) you look and sound like you might be Joan Harris’s younger sister, from Mad Men? (And I mean that as the best compliment ever.)5 years ago

  • Ellen: Love this video-glad to ‘see and hear’ you!4 years ago

  • Mallory: I have to agree with clotilde, I was thinking the same thing while I watched! You’re so cute and charming.

    Thanks for inspiring me to do something I’ve been scared of forever. I’m getting ready to put my chicken in the oven right now!3 years ago

  • Amy: Great video! Trying it out tonight. We’ll see if the kids like it, I’m thinking it will go over with them. Thanks2 years ago

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A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat.
- Old New York Proverb