It always surprises me when someone says they’re intimidated by the idea of roasting a whole chicken — even though I hear it a lot. My response is to encourage the person to try it, because it’s easy and incredibly rewarding. Really, it’s pretty hard to go wrong.
If anyone’s still not convinced, watch our video and then follow the steps below. There are really just four of them, and you can leave out No. 3 if you feel like keeping it even more simple:
One: Season. Two: Stuff. Three: Bed. Four: Roast.
Within those perameters lie infinite possibilities: Season with the za’atar suggested below, or with other herbs and spices — or just with salt and pepper. Stuff with the lemons and shallots in my recipe, or with garlic and fresh herbs such as thyme and rosemary. Place on a bed of leeks and lemon slices like I do, or on a mixture of eggplant rounds and bell pepper chunks, or on a variety of root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, potatoes and/or beets) — or forget the vegetable bed entirely and place your chickens on a roasting rack.
For simplicity, I like to cook my chickens at 425˚ the whole time, but some people swear by starting the oven high for half an hour, then lowering it to 350 and cooking the chicken longer than my recommended hour and a half. The fact is, all of the above works perfectly — roast chicken is eminently forgiving — so feel free to experiment.
Here’s the recipe, if you still need one…
Liza Schoenfein is the food editor of the Forward. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @LifeDeathDinner. Her personal blog is Life, Death & Dinner.