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Monday, October 6, 2008

Roast for Any Night: Recipe

The more I write, the more I begin to think that maybe I am a really picky eater. I just finished saying that I don't like pumpkin pie and now I'm about to say that I really don't like chicken. But allow me to amend that statement. I don't like ordinary chicken breasts. I love chicken breasts stuffed with cheese and other things and I love chicken cooked long and slow the way it's done for Coq Au Vin. And I do love chicken thighs and legs and the skin! Yikes. Did I say that out loud? Not so good for you, I know. But I do love it when it's crispy and well seasoned.

A roast chicken can be, perhaps, one of the world's simplest but best dishes. With very little effort you have a terrific dish that can be used for one night's meal straight out of the oven and for a lunch the next day as in chicken salad...and of course, don't get rid of the bones! Make yourself some homemade chicken stock and freeze it.

There isn't a huge secret to a roast chicken other than lots of kosher salt and some extra flavor like lemon, onion, and a bit of butter. If you're adventurous, you can make an herb butter by softening some butter and mixing it with some fresh chopped herbs and then sliding the paste under the skin of the bird. It's all very easy and what you get is a wonderful meal that smells terrific.

Roast Chicken with Lemon and Herbs
3 lb. roasting chicken, washed and dried, inside and out
Kosher salt
1 lemon, sliced in half
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced in half
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary and fresh parsley, washed
4 Tbsp. butter, softened

Preheat oven to 375. Place washed chicken into a large roasting pan. Rub salt inside the cavity as well as all over the bird - about 1/2 cup in total. Place the lemon, onion, and herbs into the bird. Rub the softened butter over the breast side of the bird. Place the bird breast-side up in the pan and bake for 1 1/2 hours or about 25 minutes per pound. Baste the bird only once during the cooking. Let the bird rest about 10 minutes before carving.

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