The Perfect Roast Chicken

A Roast Chicken Dinner

I couldn’t remember the last time I roasted a whole chicken. I had done several on the barbecue rotisserie during the summer. But on a cold winter’s day, I was craving the comfort of a nicely roasted whole chicken. So, to the oven….

I stopped at Wegmans and picked up a three-and-a-half pound Empire kosher bird. Having had a kosher kitchen for the first 35 years of our marriage, even after I gave it up 10 years ago (that story is for another time), I’ve continued to buy only kosher chickens, turkeys, and game hens (ducks are a different matter) because I like the flavor which is due, in large part, to the kashering — salting and soaking — of all kosher poultry. It amounts to brining, which imparts lots of flavor to whatever is put through that process. Although the kosher butcher I’d used for more than thirty years retired and closed his shop in November, fortunately, all the supermarkets in my area carry packaged Empire chickens, whole and in parts.

This particular whole chicken didn’t need much cleaning up. Into the cavity: a chunk of onion, a severed garlic clove, a large sage leaf, and a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper (no salt needed). Tied up the bird and sprinkled black pepper over the skin, then “painted” it all over with peanut oil. In the roasting pan, I prepared a small bed of sliced onions, celery, and carrots, put the chicken on it breast side down, and placed it in the pre-heated oven set at 350 degrees Pure Convection.

I peeled some Yukon Gold potatoes and some carrots, cut them into chunks, tossed them with salt, ground black pepper, and peanut oil and set them aside.

After the chicken had been roasting for about half an hour and was beginning to brown, I added some chicken stock to the pan and basted the bird. I continued basting about every ten minutes, adding stock as needed. When the skin was a burnished brown, I turned the chicken right-side up, basted it, and arranged the potatoes and carrots around it. I continued basting the vegetables and the chicken until the top skin was as brown as the bottom. After checking for doneness with an instant read thermometer, I removed the pan from the oven, scooped the vegetables into a bowl, placed them in the warming oven, and let the chicken sit for a while before carving.

A Roast Chicken Dinner

Convection ovens do a spectacular job of turning out superb roasted poultry. And this chicken was no exception. Both breast and dark meat were very juicy and flavorful. The vegetables, having been imparted with the flavor of the basting juices, were delicious as well.

A Roast Chicken Dinner

The perfect roast chicken. How satisfying!


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