Basic Roasted Chicken

"She didn’t even know how to make a plain old roast chicken."

This is what my husband Ed said about the girlfriend just before I entered his life.

I have to say, what I learned about this particular woman afterwards was that she was smart and knew several languages and was hard working and knew how to order in a French restaurant.

But she couldn’t make a roasted chicken and maybe that wasn’t the “test” for what was important in a wife, but apparently this person’s lack of ability in the chicken area was remarkable enough to be remarked upon.

Ed was thrilled that I knew how to roast a chicken.

Among other things.

Basically, roasted chicken is one of those foods that can be rustic or fancy, dressed down or dressed up. For family or for company.

Roasted chicken. Always a comfort. Always welcome. Always with that compelling home aroma that makes you feel good to be home.

A great choice for Friday night dinner, to start the weekend off right.

A great choice for Sunday dinner, to get you ready for the week ahead.

Roasted chicken is something everyone, man or woman, should know how to cook.

So here is a basic, basic recipe for all to try and enjoy.

Basic Roasted Chicken

1 roasting chicken, 4-1/2 to 6 pounds

2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Garlic powder and paprika, optional

2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, optional

1 to 1-1/2 cups chicken stock, white wine, cider or juice (apple, pineapple, mango, etc.)

 Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove any pinfeathers and extra flesh and fat from the chicken. Take out the package of giblets inside the cavity (you may save these pieces for stock, except for the liver, or roast them along with the chicken). Rinse and dry the chicken. Brush the olive oil all over the chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and optional garlic powder and paprika or fresh herbs. Place the chicken breast side down on a rack placed inside a roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees. Roast the chicken for 15 minutes. Pour the stock (wine, cider or juice) over the chicken and roast another 15 minutes. Turn the chicken breast side up. Roast the chicken, basting occasionally, for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken, or until the chicken is cooked through (a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast registers 160 degrees or 165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh). Remove the chicken to a carving board and let rest for 15 minutes before carving. Serve with pan juices (you may strain the pan fluids if desired, and/or reduce them to desired thickness by boiling the fluids in a small saucepan over high heat). Makes 6 servings