Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Best Kind - Simple Roast Chicken with Herb Butter

It gives me a small amount of relief to look at the last few posts and know that they are without dessert and pastry qualities. I'm even more relieved to continue on this savory riff, and finally add a roast chicken recipe to this blog. Because no food blog would be worth much of anything did it not contain a good, simple roast chicken. It's one of my favorite meals, and it's so easy.

But should you start to worry, should your sweet tooth start to ache and should you start to feel those all too familiar pangs of the sugar craving, let me reassure you: more tarts and cakes and other sweet things to come. I've not nearly exhausted the recipe collections amassed over the holidays, they're all sitting on my desktop, waiting to be immortalized here. And to come pipping hot out of your own oven.

I do hope you're playing along at home.

Especially when it comes to roast chicken.

I was able to work from home for two weeks this past holiday. There were some things going on at home and I felt I needed to be there to help out. The day before I left, I was frantically packing several suitcases and cleaning my apartment, making sure everything was in order before I left. I didn't have any food in the house, and quite honestly, I didn't have much of an appetite. That's when I got a call from Leah, "I'm coming over. I'm bringing the dog and I'm making you a roast chicken."

Is there any kind of better call that that? I ask you.

The answer is no.

So she did. I cleaned, and packed, and showered while she chopped, and seasoned, and roasted. The smells emanating from my kitchen were beyond glorious, and my appetite seemed to magically restore itself. The smell of roast chicken will do that to you.

And then we sat down, ate and chatted. It was a perfect sendoff. I thought about how lucky I was, and how delicious the meal was. It's really the perfect thing to cook at just about anytime. Here is an easy recipe for that:

Simple Roast Chicken with Herb Butter

1 3-4 lb organic chicken (it's all about the quality of the bird)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (a little over 1 tbsp of salt)
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp fresh, chopped rosemary
1 tbsp fresh, chopped thyme

Preheat the oven to 450. Rinse the bird, pat it dry with paper towels, inside and out. Make sure the bird is very dry, otherwise it will steam in the oven. Combine the herbs, salt & pepper and the butter. Using your fingers, stuff the two breast pockets with a bit of the herb butter. Using your hands, cover the bird in the rest of the butter mixture. Season with pepper to taste. Truss the bird, making sure the wings and legs are very tight against the bird. Stick in a saute pan or dutch oven, and roast for 50-60 minutes. Once the chicken is done, remove it from the oven, baste it with the juices from the pan, and let it sit for 15 minutes to rest. Remove the twine and serve.

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