Roast Chicken Project #12 - Lacquered Roast Chicken
We made it! The final roast chicken is here!
And I BURNED IT.
So much for going out with dignity and grace.
I may have effed up the aesthetics here, but don't let them fool you, this chicken was good. One of the simplest preparations yet left yielded one of the best tasting chickens of the entire project, even with the overly-darkened skin. The breast meat could be described by no other word but succulent, really. I mean it, there was real danger of me consuming the entire thing the moment I tasted it, and the only thing that stopped me was the prospect of having to pay for my gluttony with $12 take out lunches. My wallet prevailed over my stomach, thank goodness, but now you know this particular chicken should be made when you are ready to eat it. It's just too dangerous otherwise.
This chicken has a bit of a Chinese flavor with the soy sauce, and looks reminiscent of the crispy ducks hanging in the storefronts down in Chinatown, which I thought seemed fitting to bring us into the Year of the Rooster. But at it's root, it's a recipe that follows what I've come to believe is the best way to roast a chicken. Gasp! Did I make that statement? Did my 12 months of research really lead me to find the "perfect" method? Maaaybeee. I'll be sharing more about that on Friday but for now, I'll just point out that this chicken recipe follows the tried and true method of open-air chilling a well-salted bird overnight in the refrigerator to dry out the skin, then roasting at high heat for a little less than and hour, then letting it rest, then serving. It's simple, with barely any effort beyond a bit of pre-planning, and the result is guaranteed to yield juicy meat and crispy skin. Gimme.
Alsoooooo, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TEA AND FOG!
(Should I have put candles on the chicken?)
Two years ago I decided to do this thing and it's been the most amazing creative outlet for me. I get to do the thing I love and write about it (and I try to put up halfway decent photos that don't make me cringe), and sometimes people even read it! HELLO and THANK YOU if that's you! It's somehow led to a new job and some fun adventures in the kitchen, and I'm so excited to see where it goes in Year 3.
But Year 3 is going to be postponed for a bit. This blogging thing is super fun, but it's also a very time-consuming hobby that, for the sake of those photos, I have to condense into the daylight hours of my weekends, and with increased work travel and my commitment to myself to put out 2 posts per week, it has started to be a bit of a monopolizer of my free time and sometimes feels more like a chore than something I'm doing for fun. I'm starting to get less out of it than I'm putting in, and noticed a not-unrelated uptick in typos and mistakes. So I'm taking a break! Not a long one, probably just 5 or 6 weeks, but I need to recharge my creative batteries and maybe see my friends and go outside and rediscover my yoga mat. I want to work on my photography a bit and read more books and Marie Kondo the hell out of my apartment. I'm excited to spend some time in the kitchen with some of my new cookbooks and without a camera. I think it's gonna be awesome.
So, I'll see you on Friday with a retrospective on The Roast Chicken Project and my final takeaways, but if you have no interest in roast chicken, see ya in March!
Lacquered Roast Chicken
- One, 3-4 lb whole chicken
- 2 tbs honey
- 2 tbs soy sauce
- t tsp kosher salt
- Set the chicken on a wire rack set in a rimmed sheet pan (or in a rack in a roasting pan). Whisk together the honey and soy sauce until the honey is dissolved, the brush the chicken with a thin coat of the mixture on both sides. Let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature, then brush the entire chicken with the remaining mixture. Sprinkle both sides with the salt, place the chicken breast side up and refrigerate, uncovered, overnight or at least 12 hours.
- When ready to roast, heat oven to 400 degrees and set racks on lower levels. Roast the chicken for 50 minutes, tenting with foil if it begins to brown or burn too soon (see photos for what happens if you don't!).
- When the area where the breast and thigh meet registers 165 degrees, the chicken is done. Remove from the oven and rest 15 minutes, then carve and serve.
- When you rest the chicken overnight, some of the honey and soy sauce mixture will drip off. Don't be tempted to brush this excess back onto the bird before roasting. I did, and I'm pretty sure that's why the skin burned almost immediately. It was basically just a layer of sugar that I torched. Don't do this.