Thursday, May 10, 2007

Fast Roast Chicken

I have to admit not being a huge fan of roast chicken, but the lovely wife is and the boys will eat it. So, when I make it I do two things. The first is I stuff it, so that I have something to eat. The second is I try to cook it as quickly as possible. I have found that I can cook a typical "fryer" chicken (3 1/2 pounds or so) in about an hour and can cook a "roaster" in a little over an hour and a half. There are two tricks.

The first one is that the stuffing helps the white meat cook a little slower, so that it doesn't turn into dried soylent green while the dark meat cooks. The second is not to truss the chicken too much (or at all). This exposes more of the dark meat, which again, leads to quicker cooking.

Although I have upgraded the recipe and will post this soon, I still like my original sausage stuffing recipe and fully recommend it. Having said that, any bread or corn based stuffing will work fine. If you don't like stuffing, just use old bread soaked in stock.


Whole raw chicken, preferably 5 pounds or more
Kosher Salt
Oil (to grease pan)


Cooking thermometer, preferably a digital one (they are faster and more accurate)
Roasting Pan
Decent ventilation (this chicken recipe SMOKES A LOT)


Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Cut off the tips of the chicken wings, and stuff the chicken. Salt extremely liberally and pepper to taste. Place on greased roasting pan. Place in oven towards the back of the oven, feet first. After about 10 minutes open the oven and loosen the chicken off the bottom of the roasting pan so it doesn't stick. Put it back.

The real question with whole chicken is how long to cook it. I find that the stuffing gives you a little more time between "raw" and "cardboard," buts its always an issue. In general I let the 4 pound chicken cook at least an hour before sticking a thermometer in, the 5 pound plus ones an hour and twenty minutes or more (figure 20 minutes a pound minus 10 minutes). The more you open it the longer it takes. The most important thing is the thermometer. Stick in in the fleshy part of the thigh, away from a bone. Also stick in the fat part of the breast. If everything is over 160, you are done.

After removing the chicken, pull the stuffing out immediately. Let the chicken sit at least 10 minutes before carving. Serve with style.

You can also make gravy from the drippings, etc. More on this later.


Kay Adler said...

Why no rack for the chicken so it won't stick to the pan? I use the Barefoot Contessa recipe but use a capon as I think it tastes better than plain chicken.

Ira.B said...

If you grease the bottom and then move the chicken with a spatula about 10 minutes into cooking, you rarely get a sticky bottom. Racks stick too. Stuffed chicken does not make a huge amount of grease, so a rack doesn't help that way either. Its just a waste.