Amanda’s Perfectly Roast Chicken (podcast)

Apr 27th, 2017 | By | Category: Featured Articles, the show
Amanda Love's Roast Chicken

Amanda Love’s Roast Chicken

Roast chicken is a simple preparation that strikes terror in the hearts of beginning and even some seasoned home cooks.

Maybe it’s because Julia Child, a beloved and respected American chef, author and host of PBS shows like The French Chef, famously said something like: “The real test of a good cook is a perfectly roasted chicken.” We all want to think of ourselves as good home cooks—especially when it comes to relatively simple dishes.

And maybe it’s the simplicity of roast chicken that gets us in a tizzy.

When a recipe is as simple as roasting a chicken, it has to be just right. There’s no faking devastatingly crispy skin, succulent meat and the intoxicating aroma of perfection. Moreover, the eager anticipation of those for whom we prepare the bird can be intimidating. We don’t want to disappoint.

Real food chef and nutrition consultant, Amanda Love has taught many a home cook to perfectly roast chicken, and understands some of the trepidation that accompanies this seemingly simple task. “People are dealing with a whole animal, which can be intimidating,” she said. “Plus, there are so many different recipes for roast chicken, it can be overwhelming.”

In addition, she said people become concerned about getting sick from improperly handled poultry. “As long as cooks use a high quality chicken, the chance of food borne illnesses, like salmonella, are extremely rare,” she said. “Source chickens locally if you can. I buy my chickens from Dewberry Hills Farm. I know the birds are pastured and eat a natural diet, which leads to amazing, flavorful meat.”

Amanda recommends cooks brine their birds in a saline solution. Place it in the refrigerator and allow it to remain submerged in the liquid for 20 minutes to two hours. “It just depends on how much time you have. Any amount of brining will help keep the meat juicy,” she said.

She makes a paste with chopped herbs, soft butter and olive oil and rubs the chicken with the mixture inside and out and even under the skin so the flavors permeate the meat. She fills the bottom of a roasting pan with sliced onions and places the bird on top.

You don’t have to have a roasting pan to roast a chicken. You can use a rimmed baking sheet or a casserole dish. From time-to-time I like to use my cast iron skillet, and one of those wire devices that goes into the chicken’s cavity and holds it upright. However, I put the chicken upside down on it so that when the bird cooks, the juices from the richer, fattier dark meat help to baste the quicker cooking, leaner white meat of the breast.

Everyone is concerned about dry chicken. Oven temperature and cooking time affect the moisture level of the meat.

Amanda recommends roasting the chicken at 375° Fahrenheit (190° C) for two hours. “I know that sounds like a long time,” she said, “but I’ve roasted about 500 chickens over the years and find that two hours at 375° is just about perfect.” The safe internal temperature for cooked chicken is 165° F (75° C). Insert an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the bird for an accurate reading.

Roast chicken doesn’t have to be intimidating…just delicious. You’ve got this.

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