The thing that sometimes makes me nuts is that super talented chef-types sometimes make things really complicated for your average Joe Schmo home cook. It is funny because the point of many cookbooks and food shows it to teach people how to cook, to inspire them. Instead I think the more complicated food becomes the less likely it is that people who don’t cook, will ever try. I am thinking a lot about this for my next Emilie in the Kitchen session.
I am going to teach Emilie how to roast a chicken. Roasted chicken is one of my go to, guaranteed boy eat, weeknight meal and Emilie needs it in her repertoire. I don’t use recipes when I cook myself but when I teach someone how to cook, I use them as guides. That is where my frustration with book authors and TV food hosts comes in. All the stuffing and rubbing and tying up chefs do to chicken makes the process so much more complicated than it needs to be. Rubbing with butter and stuffing with herbs and trussing makes really good bird but it isn’t like not doing those things is going to make a crappy one. And a new cook isn’t going to have a veggie drawer full of fresh herbs or trussing twine just laying around! A good chicken, salt and pepper are really all you need.
I spend money on my birds. My farmer friend sells excellent ones at the market but if I can’t get there I buy organic. I am not an organic only person but in the chicken department, I am. A few dollars more is worth it. I also do whole birds instead of pieces because the skin and bones add flavor and keep moisture in. Those frozen, skinless, boneless boobies have nothing on my whole birds.
Pre-heat your oven to 400.
Take one 3-4 pound organic chicken and salt and pepper it inside and out.
Place on a an oven proof pan and throw it in the oven.
After an hour, the bird should have golden, crispy skin. I eyeball it for doneness, but use a thermometer if you like. Before you cut into it let it sit on the counter for ten minutes to let it rest. Sounds funny, but it is worth it and it doesn’t get cold in that amount of time. The bird I made this week didn’t look as pretty as the cookbooks (look at those drums!) or Food Network ones but in an hour I had a super fantastic chicken on my table and leftovers to make soup and lunches for the rest of the week. There are a million and a half things you can do to a chicken but if those things prevent you from doing it yourself then they are not worth it and in this case, unnecessary.