When I was a teenager in high school, I took art class as my elective. In one of those classes, we learned how to draw boxes in perspective. These simple boxes were the stepping stones to learning how to draw objects with correct dimensions in order to make them look life-like. I loved this exercise. My boxes were detailed; they had shading and highlights, and open flaps at the top. I sketched them in the margins of every notebook I had. I got really good at drawing three-dimensional boxes, but when I went on to college art classes my drawing skills were lacking. Drawing bodies or odd shapes from weird angles wasn’t something that I was very good at and I found myself losing confidence in my abilities. When this happened (and it happened a lot) I would instinctively go back to my little comfort zone of 3-D boxes with their flaps and shadows to rebuild my confidence.
I have found that I have my own similar comfort zone in the kitchen and it’s a perfectly roasted chicken. I have often found myself trussing up a whole bird after long, difficult days that are ripe with personal failure or disappointment; forever confident in the ability of a single chicken to make me feel that I am not the biggest dummy to have ever walked the planet. And most of the time, it works.
Whether you are in need of a boost to your self-esteem or you just want chicken for dinner, roasting a whole chicken is easy. The biggest piece of advice I can give you about cooking a whole bird (chicken or turkey!), is to remember to take the bag of giblets out of the cavity. Anything after that is a piece of cake. Have your trusty digital thermometer ( I like this one)on hand to take the temperature of the thickest part of the breast to check for doneness and you are good to go (You’re looking for 165 degrees).
- 1 3 1/2 pound whole chicken
- 1 stick 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 lemon
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 fresh rosemary sprig
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Zest the lemon. Slice remaining lemon into quarters and place to the side. In a medium bowl, combine butter, lemon zest, minced garlic and 1/4 cup chopped rosemary, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
- Take your hand and slide the butter mixture between the skin and the meat on the breast, as well as loosening the 'pockets' between the leg and wing joints and inserting the butter there.
- Season the outside of the chicken and the cavity with the salt and pepper . Add the quartered lemon and rosemary sprigs to the chicken cavity. Bind the legs with twine and tuck the wings into the leg joints to secure.
- Place the chicken breast up onto the roasting rack and into the oven. Roast for approximately 50 minutes, or until the juices run clear, basting occasionally with the pan juices. Let rest for 10 minutes. Carve and serve.