Jewish New Year was this week and with it the tradition of eating apples and honey to ensure a sweet new year. With Canadian Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s time to learn how to roast a bird.
For those of us who only have between two and four people to feed over for the holidays, cooking an entire turkey seems like a wasteful pain in the neck. You can feed a smaller group just fine in a fraction of the time if you serve a smaller bird, the good old reliable chicken.
Roasting a whole bird can be intimidating, but with a few simple tricks, you can achieve the moist meat and crispy chicken skin of dreams every time.
First, season your bird. Even those who are salt conscious should be generous with the salt. Remember that it’s only going on the skin and in the cavity of the bird. If you don’t want the salt, don’t eat the skin.
Second, STUFF IT! The reason meat dries out is because hot air circulates through the cavity of the bird while it’s cooking. You can resolve this problem by sticking some savory stuffing or ¼ of a lemon in it and pinning the skin at the entrance shut with toothpicks.
Third, give the bird a foil tent. By putting some folded foil over the bird for the first hour, you keep the skin from browning and burning before the meat is cooked.
Fourth, change gears part way through the roasting process. For some reason, starting at a high temperature and shifting to a lower one an hour into roasting results in a perfect bird.
Fifth, give the bird a rest! This is the tip that’s repeated in every single food article on meat, and that’s for a reason. Resting the meat for 15 minutes after roasting prevents it from drying out after it comes out of the oven.
Now on to the recipe!
Here’s How You Do It
Difficulty Level: Medium - Hard
Prep time: 35 Minutes
Roasting time: 90 Minutes
Serves 2 to 4
1 Chicken – 3 to 4 pounds
1 Tablespoon of Herbs, fresh or dried – The pros will say fresh is best, and they’re right, but in a pinch feel free to use dried. I used Herbes de Provence, which is a mix of different herbs including thyme, oregano, marjoram, and savory; you could also use basil, rosemary, sage or tarragon or any combo of the herbs I’ve mentioned.
1 Teaspoons of Salt + extra for seasoning the bird inside and out
1/2 Teaspoon of Pepper
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon of Melted Butter
½ Teaspoon of Dijon Mustard
¼ Teaspoon of Honey
1 Onion, Peeled and Cut into Quarters
5 Cups (or 2 individual bottles) of Hard Apple Cider
1 Tablespoon of Butter mixed with 1 ½ Tablespoons of Flour
¼ Lemon or 1 Cup of Homemade Stuffing
Measuring Cups and Spoons
1 Knife and Cutting Board
1 Regular Bowl
1 Baking Dish big enough for your Chicken
1 Regular Spoon for mixing
Kitchen or Phone Timer
1 Small Pot
Preheat the oven to 400 OF.
Take your chicken out of the fridge and put it in the baking dish. Season it all over with salt, making sure to get salt in the crevices of wings and the legs.
Season the bird inside the cavity and stuff it with a quarter of a lemon or stuffing.
Pin the skin outside the entrance to the cavity together using your trusty toothpicks.
In a regular bowl, mix the Olive Oil, Melted Butter, Dijon Mustard, Honey, Pepper, and a Teaspoon of Salt.
Rub the herb and oil mixture all over the chicken.
Surround it with the four pieces of onion.
Pour the first 2 ½ cups (1 bottle) of cider into the bottom of the pan.
Cut a piece of aluminum foil slightly bigger than what is needed to cover the chicken and fold it slightly in half. Put this “tent” on top of the chicken.
CAREFULLY, so the cider doesn’t spill, put the pan in the oven.
Set a timer for 60 minutes and walk away.
When the timer goes off, turn the oven down to 375 oF and remove the foil tent from the pan.
Roast for another 40 minutes and take it out of the oven.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board using your trusty tongs and leave it alone for 15 minutes to rest.
While the chicken is resting, discard the onion pieces, and pour the juices from the pan into a pot on high heat along with the second bottle (2 ½ Cups) of Cider. Bring it to a boil and simmer it for about 15 minutes, whisking constantly until some of the liquid evaporates.
Whisk in the flour and butter mixture, stirring until the gravy thickens a little.
Turn off the heat.
Now feel free to carve up your bird and serve!
Happy Thanksgiving, Eh!
-Samantha R. Gold
Questions? Comments? Requests?
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