Bronwen (our very own Winnie), co-owner of the Spice Station in Silverlake CA, is here to share with you the key steps to roast a chicken better than the Colonel. We’re lucky to be getting these tips, since the Spice Station was just named one of the best new US shops by Food and Wine magazine. On top of that, we know first hand; this chick knows her way around a chicken! ~wht
I’m going to share with you the steps to make a whole roasted chicken. It’s so easy, once you do it, you’ll be hooked. Plus, you’ve got a chance to win a set of spices that will assure it’s delicious!
1. Buy a quality whole chicken. Make sure it is vegetarian fed, free range and if possible, from a sustainable local farm. Unlike the whole birds you see in the market, chickens are only supposed to be three to five pounds at the most. A 7 pound chicken is pumped with hormones. Believe me, you don’t want to eat it! Also, when you buy a chicken that costs 99 cents a pound; think for a moment how they’re able to bring you that at such a low cost? An organic bird will cost you more. But in return you get a much healthier, better tasting meal. Plus, you’re helping the environment by supporting farms that cause less environmental impact.
2. The might before, wash the chicken inside and out with cold water. After rinsing, pat it down with paper towels and place in a roasting pan with a rack. I got this tip from the Pulitzer Prize winning Food Critic, Jonathan Gold, who happens to shop at my store. Salt the entire chicken down, cover and place in fridge until the next day when you’re ready to cook. The salt will draw the moisture out of the skin and will make it extra crispy when cooking. Now, that’s a tip you should take!
3. Spice and Cook! Rub chicken with olive oil or cold butter, add salt (optional because its on there already), pepper, paprika, rosemary, lemon; whatever spice you want. I personally use salt, pepper, paprika and fennel pollen.
Preheat oven to 350-375 degrees. The chicken will take anywhere from 1.5 – 2.5 hours, depending on the size. A good rule of thumb is to roast 20 minutes per pound. Using a meat thermometer, check the thickest part of the thigh (be sure not to touch any bones) and the temperature should read 165 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, check by piercing the breast toward the end of the cooking time and make sure the juices run clear. Take out of oven, let rest for at least 10-15 minutes before carving and you’re done!
Alternative high heat cooking method: (also from Jonathan Gold)
Brown chicken in pan with butter and parsley, about 4 minutes on each side. Place on roasting rack. Preheat oven to 475 and cook chicken for 30 minutes, then lower temp to 400 for an additional 15-20 minutes. Take out of oven and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.