Roast chicken is an ultimate comfort food, but also easy to prepare and affordable. It sometimes gets a bad rap for being bland or dried out. A perfectly roast chicken could never be described this way so if that's how you feel - you're doing it wrong.
I roast a chicken almost every Sunday night to use throughout week. Over time, I've come up with a rather fail proof method. My secret? Don't truss your chicken.
Ignore those fancy recipes and chefs who tell you to tie the chicken up for even cooking. It's just not true. It makes for a beautiful presentation, but when you tie the legs in close to the body, all you are doing is restricting airflow around the legs - the dark meat that takes longer to cook - which then increases the gap in cooking time between the light and dark meat. When you truss, you back yourself into a corner. You're always going to have either undercooked legs or overcooked breasts.
Let yourself be lazy for once, place the chicken on the roasting tray and let it be.
The other tip I can offer which is more common in practice, is to start at a high temperature to help crisp the skin. After 20 minutes, I drop the temperature 100 degrees to finish cooking.
When I'm roasting chicken just to have protein on hand for recipes throughout the week, I let the chicken rest until it's cool enough to handle and then I remove the skin. I place the pieces of skin back on the roasting tray, sprinkle them liberally with salt and return to the oven for 15 - 20 minutes until golden brown.
Present most men with a plate of salty, crunchy chicken skin and they'll love you forever.
Not into skin? Not to worry. This recipe is delicious even without that last, optional step.
Perfect Roast Chicken
1 4-pound chicken
1 tbsp ghee from pasture-raised cows
Kosher salt to taste
Preheat oven to 450
Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Let it come to room temperature.
Place the chicken on a parchment-lined roasting tray breast-side up. Spread the ghee all over the skin. Sprinkle liberally with salt (use more than you think you should).
Place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. after 20 minutes, rotate the chicken and drop the temperature to 350. Continue roasting for 25 additional minutes.
Remove from the oven and let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving. If you're breaking down the chicken and saving the meat for later in the week, let it rest until cool enough to handle.
Optional: Once the chicken has cooled slightly, remove the skin. Place the pieces of skin back on the roasting tray, sprinkle liberally with salt and return to the oven for an additional 15 - 20 minutes.