Brined and flavored with compound butter, this crispy and golden roast chicken is easy to make.
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This was easily the juiciest chicken I've ever eaten. Brining will now be something I do as a matter of course. We made a compound butter with tarragon, basil, and oregano.
The only downside was on doneness. After 50 minutes, testing a thigh showed it needed more time. After 10 more minutes, the other thigh looked good. Unfortunately, while carving, we found other parts of the bird that were still pink, so I've still got some learning to do on when a chicken is fully cooked.
Hi Bill. Glad you enjoyed this delicious chicken. Equally glad you tried brining and now understand what a big difference this easy step can make to your final meal. Nice work.
As for cooking time, I'd strongly suggest from this point forward, that you always disregard cooking times published on ANY recipe. Everyone has a different ovens and everyone's oven is out be a few degrees (or more), making it impossible to judge doneness by published cooking times. In cooking school you are never allowed to ask the question, "how long". And if you do, you will always get the same answer - cook until it is done.
With this chicken, don't hesitate to turn it over, and cut into the meat in a couple of places (always the thickest part). And always make sure to rest it before eating. For a whole roast chicken, you can watch this Drill-down for how to test chicken:
This was a great way to roast chicken. We brined a small free range organic chicken and just "eye-balled" a mix of tarragon, green onion and butter together to put under the skin. It was so moist and tender and made the best gravy. I had done a separate chicken stock reduction but just added that to the gravy. Yummy. I made the mistake of cutting out the bone before brining but that didn't seem to hurt it any. This will become a favourite way of roasting from now on.
I realize the cooking time question is old, but this is very important, so I thought I would bump it for others who also might be wondering.
While the drill-down Joe posted is indeed useful to tell if the bird is under-done, it won't keep you from first cooking it to the point where it is overdone, which, in my experience, is more often the problem.
As Joe said, each oven is different. And, what is more, the temperature you set is an average temperature. Some ovens will stray much farther from that average temperature than others, meaning they will get much hotter or colder before their thermostats kick in to make a change. So, even if their average temperature is set at the target, they still might cook faster or slower than other ovens.
In short, time is a pretty useless thing to judge by; what takes an hour in the person who made the recipe's oven might take 45 minutes in yours, or an hour-and-a-half.
The only 100% reliable way to tell is to cook to temperature. The best way I have found to do this is with a probe thermometer, with which the probe goes in the meat, and the "brain" stays outside the oven, and sounds an alarm when the meat gets up to a preset temperature, which in the case of poultry is 165 degrees. The alarm goes off, you take the bird out, rest it for a few minutes, and voila, perfectly roasted bird.
The same, of course applies to beef roasts, pork roasts, and so on, although temperatures vary. Cook to temperature, though, and whatever you roast will always come out perfect.
I didn't realise how much difference brining could make. As I am by my self and only like dark meat I though I would try using four thighs. I put them in the brine for an hour. As I am watching my weight I only rubbed the out side with olive oil.The results was unbeliable. I sonn will be 82 abd have been cooking as long as I can rember. So the saying that you never get to old to learn something new is so true
By Ruth .
For my first time brining, I experimented with two cornish hens. These were easy to butterfly with kitchen shears, and I used a compound butter I made with fresh shallots and dried thyme. Everything about this dish was delicious! The hens were so full of flavor! I can't wait to do this again, but with a larger, roasting chicken.
I have an oven that has a probe thermometer - never used it! I'd like to try with this recipe. My question is where do I place the thermometer for the best read - thigh or breast? The thigh seems smaller although I know that they often take longer to roast. Thanks.
Because this chicken is butterflied, it might be a bit more difficult as one of the benefits of butterflying is that it will cook more evenly (compared with roasting whole). However, I would still stick it into the thickest part of the thigh. Insert right down to the bone and then pull back off the bone just slightly (if the thermometer hits the bone, it tends to show the bone temperature which can be higher than the temperature of the meat.
Consider investing in an instant read thermometer sometime. This way you can check the temperature in a few spots while checking for doneness.
I finally got a chance to try this recipe out and I must say I am pleased. The chicken was brown and crispy on the outside and tender and thoroughly done everywhere! The technique is simple, once you get the back bone cut out, which was a bit tricky for me, since my kitchen shears are not all that strong, so I had to manoeuver around the thicker bones. Instead of compound butter, I would suggest just pushing some chopped fresh or dried spices and herbs under the skin. The chickens are quite fatty enough without the butter. I also skipped the basting. Instead I tented some foil over the chicken for the first twenty minutes. I had one large chicken instead of two, so I cooked it an extra half hour. I wasn't happy with the amount of browning, so I gave it a little time under the broiler to crisp up. I used an instant read thermometer in the thigh (I swear I did not read your reply first, Joe!) and it was 162 or 3F, so I cut into the thigh as in the recipe and it was totally done! Next time, maybe I will do a turkey!!! I also cooked the spine, which is my favorite part, pope's nose and all, along with the chicken and it was delicious! The one thing I would change is I would put the chicken on a rack, so that it is not sitting in the grease.
Hi Mimi Joan- Oh, great work! I really enjoyed reading your suggestions and now you can do this recipe again and improve upon it. You seem to be a very intuitive cook, and that is the goal!
And I agree, a rack is very useful for keeping the chicken elevated but it also encourages more even cooking. Keep up the great work and we appreciate you sharing your cooking experience with us. Enjoy!
Thanks for your appreciation! There are two reasons I can cook intuitively. One is the attitude I have picked up from Rouxbe, that it is more important to know the techniques, then to follow the recipe to the letter. I am better able to look at what I want from cooking any particular set of instructions and what is actually happening in my kitchen and if it is not working, I can find a way to get where I want to go! Sometimes! The second thing is that I have to deal with a cranky stove, that will not do what I want, and tools that resist my best intentions. They really encourage me to find solutions. When I start the cooking school, I am hoping that the courses will test my inventiveness and intuition to the max!
Hi Mimi Joan- We look forward to helping you along the way and we also look forward to the mentorship and encouragement you can offer to your fellow students. I know they will cherish that as well. I believe deeply in the power of peer-to-peer learning. See you "in class"- Enjoy!