One day at the cabin I decided to try roasting a frying chicken. I had planned to marinate and cook it on the grill, but the mosquitos were at their peak, so I opted for something I could do inside. Since the result was pretty good, I jotted down the ingredients and repeated the experiment a few weeks later.
Now we have roasted chicken at least a couple of times a year at the cabin. With this simple recipe you can have a chicken in the oven in only a few minutes and a gourmet meal on the table in an hour and a half.
3-4 lb. whole chicken
1 T olive oil
2 T flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. tarragon
1/4 tsp. rosemary
1/4 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. paprika
dash or two of cayenne
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400º.
Crush the rosemary in a pestle or use a cup and spoon. Put the flour on a plate and add the salt, tarragon, crushed rosemary, basil, paprika, cayenne and black pepper. Mix everything together thoroughly and spread it in a thin layer.
Remove the giblets and set them aside. Rinse the chicken under cold water, pat it dry with a paper towel and rub it with the olive oil. Roll the chicken in the flour and spice mixture, coating the outside and dusting the inside of the cavity. Tie the legs together with kitchen string.
Put the chicken, breast side up. on a rack in a roasting pan and put it in the preheated oven. After 20 minutes, turn the oven down to 350º and roast until done, about an hour. Baste it with a little butter or olive oil once or twice while cooking.
Test for doneness by poking a skewer into the thick part of the thigh; the juices should run clear. Or you can check that the legs move easily or use an instant read meat thermometer. When the temperature at the thickest part of the breast is 165º the meat is done.
Serve with boiled or baked potatoes or rice and a vegetable or salad.
NOTES: You can use the meat from the giblets and neck to make an excellent gravy with the drippings from the chicken. Wash and put the gizzard, heart and neck in about a pint of water in a small saucepan, add a bouillon cube and simmer the meat for about 45 minutes. Don’t use the liver unless you like the stronger flavor in your gravy.
Remove the meat from the broth and let it cool a few minutes. Cut the gizzard and heart into a small dice and pick as much meat as you can from the neck.
When the chicken is done, set it aside covered. Heat the broth to boiling and pour it into the roasting pan. Scrape the drippings from the bottom of the pan and return the broth to the saucepan. Add the meat from the giblets and bring the pan to a simmer.
Dissolve a tablespoon of corn starch (or a heaping tablespoon if you like thicker gravy) into a quarter cup of cold water and stir it into the broth. Simmer for two or three minutes, taste and correct the seasoning.