Confession: Because I was vegetarian for a good portion of my life, I never really learned how to cook meat. (Slicing Spam and throwing it into a frying pan does not count.)
So when my co-worker Cayenne shared her roasted chicken recipe with me, I was intrigued. She made it sound so easy: Buy a chicken. Bathe it in butter. Stick it in the oven.
I was scared at first. I had never roasted a whole chicken all by myself. (Yes, there was this chicken, but I mostly just plucked that one and didn't do the cooking.)
But I dove right in and followed everything Cayenne said. And through some kind of miracle, this happened:
And it was the perfect balance of crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.
I've made this chicken twice now, and both times, it's been awesome. Here's how to do it:
Cayenne's Kick-Ass Roasted Chicken
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1.5 hours
1 whole chicken (I buy mine already cleaned out -- no bag of innards)
A few sprigs of fresh rosemary
Salt or seasoned salt for rubbing (I like the Svaneti blend)
1-2 T melted butter (basically enough to cover the entire chicken)
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
Put the chicken in a roasting dish. Stuff the cavity (seriously, that phrase never stops being funny) with the fresh rosemary. Rub the salt or seasoning blend all over the chicken, like you're helping it exfoliate. Then coat the whole bird with melted butter. Go big with this and paint it on like there's no tomorrow. (I'm a fan of using a basting brush.) You can never have too much butter.
Cook the chicken in the oven for 30 minutes at 450 degrees. Lower the heat to 350 degrees, and then cook the chicken for another hour. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it sit for about five minutes before serving.
Note: The best part about this recipe is how it keeps on giving. Save the drippings (another reason all that butter is so awesome) for gravy later. Use the leftover meat for chicken salad and chicken fried rice. And don't throw the bones away! You can turn those into stock and then make even more fantastic things like gluten-free matzo ball soup:
And since you're now saving so much money by eating so many home-cooked meals, you can treat yourself to this:
Mama loves a new toy.