I've always loved roast chicken. I love the way the crispy skin opens up to juicy, white meat and I love how every household has its own, sacred interpretation. Roast chicken has the unique ability to take on the flavors of any type of cuisine. There are few things more satisfying than carving the legs and wings of a roast chicken and picking the warm carcass with your fingers, starting with the oysters.
Roast chicken is also one of the best ways to get the most bang for your buck. With ingredients that total to $20 at most (and that's including the purchase of a free range, organic, sustainably farmed, antibiotic-free, healthy chicken), cooking up a 3.5 to 4.5 pound bird can easily provide five to six meals.
So I've decided to start roasting chickens. Lots of them. Keep in mind that I've never roasted a chicken before. I'm aiming for about two roast chickens per month, for a total of 24 roast chickens by the end of this year. I wish this project were more clever and coincided with the year of the rooster or something, but the next year of the rooster is in 2017, and I'm not waiting that long. Also, it's now the year of the
dragon rabbit, and I'm not about to start roasting dragons rabbits any time soon.
For my first attempt, I decided to do Fabio Viviani's Roast Chicken, taken from How to Cook Like a Top Chef. I chose to do this recipe first because Italy and roast chickens seem to go hand in hand and Fabio Viviani is known for recipes that are accessible and delicious.
This recipe is packed with two herbs that I love: rosemary and sage. It's so packed with these herbs that the recipe even calls for tucking rosemary and sage underneath the skin. Though this ends up making the chicken look a little sickly (notice those patches of green under the skin), the overall effect is delicious. The crispy herbs find their way into each bite and leave you with a relatively light and refreshing meal. The cavity is also stuffed with plenty of garlic and grilled lemon halves.
The lemons add a nice hint of charred lemon and moisture to the inner breast meat. I also appreciate the fact that this recipe doesn't include a single teaspoon of butter. I love butter, but I thought I'd start this project on a lighter note. Special props to Amanda and Julia for eating this one with me.
Next up, however, is a recipe with plenty of butter. And I have a growing list of roast chicken recipes that I want to try. If you have any interesting suggestions, fill me in. Otherwise, stay tuned to see how quickly I get sick of chicken.