(I was off wine tasting and dancing at a friend's Bachelorette party in San Luis Obispo this past weekend, and so this week I've called in a ringer for my very first guest post(!) to tell you all about how she's "perfected" roasted chicken. I'm still hesitant to call out a "perfect" roast chicken, but my sister Claire has cooked far more chickens than I ever have, so she knows what works for her. Today she's giving us the 3rd installment in The Roast Chicken Project, and Friday, she'll be talking about one of her favorite uses for the leftovers.)
The laziest chicken you ever did see.
Roast Chicken #3 - Lazy Chicken
Are you ready for maximum payoff with minimum effort? Did Julia’s chicken scare you off? Did Zuni Café’s seem a little too.... involved? Well pull up a chair, friend, this is the one you've been waiting for. This is the chicken equivalent of “I woke up like this,” the culinary version of “what, this old thing?” I promise you, anyone who eats this will think you slaved away for hours, basting and coddling and ensuring perfection, when, in reality, you put the bird in the oven and forgot about it for 3 hours.
In my house, roast chicken is a thing. We have it at least once a month, and as a result, my freezer is full of chicken carcasses and homemade stock. Lest you think I am crazy chicken lady, there are reasons. First, my husband goes crazy for it. We eat a pretty healthy diet, and meat only makes an appearance two or three times a week. But Sunday dinners are different, and with the week stretched out before us, we like to go all out. Braises, burgers, fried food, and at least once a month, roast chicken and mashed potatoes make their appearance. Second, a whole chicken gives you so much bang for your buck. Cook it once, and you will get at least another meal out of it, plus a fresh batch of homemade stock. Need I say more?
Since we have it roughly once a month, I have tried my fair share of recipes, and always come back to this one. Because it is perfect for Sundays. Because it isn't complicated. Because it is L-A-Z-Y.
I’ve been making this chicken for roughly two years, every since the recipe for “faux tisserie” chicken appeared in the March 2014 bon appetit. The first time, I followed the recipe to the letter, and it was delicious. But the thing is, the secret of this chicken is that it's not really about what you put on it. It's all about the method. You just leave the chicken in the oven for 3 hours and walk away. THAT'S IT. So while the bon appetit version is delicious, I have perfected it. (YES, Allie, I did).
By way of perfection, I have made this chicken even easier, even lazier. The original recipe called for fennel seeds, crushed red pepper, herbs, a lemon, a whole head of garlic….the list goes on. It's just so unnecessary. When I cook a chicken, I want it to be juicy, with crispy brown skin, and preferably I can achieve all of that in time for dinner. Enter this chicken. I’ve stripped away the fussy elements, and left it as it should be, all about the chicken. A bit of garlic and herbs give it some flavor, and the olive oil ensures a nice brown skin. But if you are truly lazy, know that I have made this with only salt and pepper, and it's just as good. Because, the chicken is the star. It cooks slowly, basting in its own fat, resulting in a tender, flavorful chicken that is ready for anything.
The only caveat? You really do need 3 hours. This is lazy chicken but it is not weeknight chicken. So make it on a Sunday. Pop it in the oven, do some laundry, watch some Netflix, bake a cake, whatever. What you won't be doing is worrying about what's for dinner.
adapted from bon appetit
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP Kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 TBSP of at least 2 of the following herbs (chives, thyme, parsley, oregano, or marjoram). Mix and match, or go crazy and use all of them!
1 tsp ground pepper
3-4 lb whole chicken
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and place in v rack in roasting pan.*
- Mix together olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and herbs. Spread mixture all over chicken and inside cavity. Place chicken in pan. No tying, no trussing, don't stuff anything in there. LAZY!
- Roast chicken for 2.5-3 hours. If you are in a hurry, it will likely be done at 2.5 hours, but the extra half hour allows the skin to continue to brown and crisp.
- Let rest for 20 minutes, and carve into pieces, or shred the meat off the bone. This should be ridiculously easy.
- Serve as desired. I recommend a nice bed of mashed potatoes and a side of green veggies.
*or, use a wire rack placed on top of a rimmed baking sheet or inside a glass baking dish. You can even use a bed of potatoes. You just want the chicken to be somewhat elevated from its drippings, otherwise the bottom will have soggy skin.