This classic American dish can be made in so any ways-- different herbs, temperatures, aromatics stuffed into the cavity. Parker has been roasting chickens for more decades that you'd guess, and here is his tried and true method for an easy and delicious Roast Chicken dinner.
Chop some carrots, onion and celery and place this mixture in the bottom of a shallow roasting pan. Add a tablespoon of dried thyme and a couple of bay leaves. Eventually, you will roast the chicken on this bed of vegetables, or on a rack set right above them.
Allow your chicken to come to temperature on your counter for a half hour. If you think of it ahead of time, let the rinsed and pat-dried chicken rest uncovered in your fridge overnight for especially crispy skin.
Rinse chicken and pat dry if you haven't already. Rub the chicken all over with oil. You might try mincing a couple of cloves of garlic with a little butter and then forcing this mixture under the skin of the chicken breasts.
Season the cavity with salt and pepper, some sprigs of fresh thyme and a couple pieces of onion and carrot. A lemon cut in half is also lovely inside the cavity. Truss the chicken by tying the legs together with cooking twine. This helps maintain even cooking of all parts of the chicken by not drying out the breast meat (too much hot air circulating in cavity) or the thighs (too far apart from the body of the chicken.)
I think that starting the roasting process at a very high heat with plenty of olive and/or butter on the chicken will get things off to a great start. Set the oven at 450, and once it's up to temperature put your prepared chicken in, breast-side up.
After about ten minutes, open the oven and brush the skin with melted butter. Repeat the brushing of butter to the skin in another ten minutes, and then lower the heat to 350.
Roast till the thickest part of the thigh reaches 155-160. The final temperature, after it carries over an additional few degrees when resting, will be safely at 165. Depending on the size of your chicken, this will take anywhere from 1-2 hours. Keep an eye on the thermometer, because you don't want to over-roast.
Remove the roasted chicken from the roasting pan and keep it warm in tin foil. Wait for 15 minutes or so before you carve to allow the juices to reincorporate into the meat.
To carve, start with the breast. Using a long, thin, sharp knife, make a slice just alongside the breast bone. Slice in long, even strokes, cutting down until you reach bone, and then start to angle the knife out, towards the outside of the breast, continuing to cut along the ribs in long, even strokes. Tug the breast meat away gently as you go. Do the same for the other breast. You can keep the wing attached, or simply slice it off and serve separately (or save for stock.)
For the thighs, remove the truss string. Pull the drumstick gently away from the body of the chicken and slice through the skin connecting them. Continue to slice down and through the skin, pulling the leg with you as you go (not so hard that the bone slips out of the meat!), till you get to the hip joint. You can cut your knife in between the joint and the bone here, through the cartilage. If the chicken is well-cooked, it should come apart easily. If you're having trouble, flip the chicken over and follow the line of the meat along the back, slicing the whole leg off in one piece.
To remove the thigh from the drumstick, flip the piece over so the meat is exposed, not the skin. There is a thick white band of cartilage you can easily slice through, following it as a guideline.
Turn the chicken over to see the back. Remove the small nuggets of tenderloin, on either side of the spine near the shoulder blades. You should probably just eat those right away because they're so delicious.
Go back through and do any clean up work you need, making sure to get the meat on the top of the chicken near the wishbone and anything left on the sides. For a helpful video, click here.
Enjoy a roasted chicken sprinkled with Balsamic vinegar, or on a bed of the sauce you made from the puréed veggies and chicken drippings. Roast chicken is equally tasty served cold the next day: allow the chicken to cool completely and use the cold meat the next day in sandwiches, salads, pasta, pot pies or soups.
Place all the bones from the roasted chicken in a heavy‐bottomed pan. Add some chopped onion, celery and carrot. Add enough water to cover the bones and vegetables.
Bring to the boil and skim any foam that develops for a couple of minutes. Reduce the heat to low. Add some dried thyme and a bay leaf. Cook for 4‐5 hours. Add more water to keep the level above the bones and vegetables.
Let the stock cool for a few minutes then strain it through a damp towel. Refrigerate the stock overnight. The next day, remove the fat from the top. Strain again. Return the stock to the pot and boil until the volume is reduced by 1/3.
Cool the stock and freeze it in small containers for future use. If you can’t make stock this week, freeze the carcass and bones and make it in the future.