Roast chicken is about the simplest, and most satisfying, home-cooked dinner you can make; especially if you throw some fingerling potatoes and a splash of white wine in the roasting pan. Julia Child’s “450 to start-350 to finish” technique has been my standard, but thanks to the crew at Sunset magazine, who roasted and blind-tasted 50 chickens, we have an even simpler method: 425 degrees until done. (For a 4 pound bird, you’re looking at about an hour, probably more like an hour and 15 minutes.)
- 1 chicken, 3-4 pound range
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil or butter
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Optional: a lemon and/or a sprig of rosemary for inside the cavity
Bring chicken to room temperature and preheat oven to 425° F. Put chicken in a roasting pan and rub the skin with olive oil or butter. Sprinkle inside and out with salt and pepper. If you have a lemon cut it in half, squeeze it into the cavity and put the halves in there with a sprig of rosemary, if you've got that. Roast in oven until done, about 15-20 minutes per pound, or until breast is 165 degrees, thigh 165-175. Let chicken rest at least 10 minutes before carving.
Recipe Notes / Tips
- Add fingerling potatoes and 1/2 cup white wine or water to the roasting pan for a delicious dinner.
- Zuni Cafe’s Roast Chicken with Bread Salad is one of the best dinners on the planet. You can improvise at home: after roasting the chicken, remove the bird to rest and toss the bread salad in the roasting pan for a few minutes: grilled or toasted rustic bread, torn in 2 inch chunks, a few handfuls hearty greens (frisée, escarole, arugula, baby mustard), 4 scallions and 4 garlic cloves (sauteed in olive oil until softened), 2 tablespoons each toasted pinenuts and currants, and a couple tablespoons white wine vinegar whisked into 1/4 cup olive oil. Smitten Kitchen adapts the whole works very nicely on her blog.