Simple Roast Chicken

One of the staples in our weekly menu is a simple roast chicken. It is relatively hands-free and leftovers can be re-imagined as chicken salad, chicken pot pie, chicken sandwiches and bones used in homemade chicken stock.

My old recipe for roast chicken was amazing. It involved smearing a few pats of softened butter under the skin, stuffing lemon and thyme on the interior and seasoning the outside generously with salt & pepper — not an easy or necessarily safe task with a learning-to-walk toddler pulling on my leg and demanding attention. My after-baby-learns-to-crawl-and-walk recipe takes out all of the prep work, making it the most easy recipe for roast chicken while possibly making it even more delicious.

This recipe is adapted from Thomas Keller’s Favorite Simple Roast Chicken Recipe. I’ve slightly reduced the salt and skip the butter at the end to make it both simpler and healthier. It will easily become one of your weekly favorites!

Simple Roast Chicken
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  1. 1 2-3 lb. pasture-raised or heritage chicken
  2. 3/4 Tablespoon coarse sea salt
  3. Freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F
  2. Rinse the chicken and remove any innards, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. You want a very dry chicken -- any wetness will create steam and make the skin a tad less crispy.
  3. Place breast side up in either a cast iron skillet oven-safe saute pan. Sprinkle about 1/4 of the salt and a bit of pepper inside the chicken's cavity.
  4. Truss the chicken (or not). If you don't know how to truss a chicken, it's a simple technique but may take a time or two to get the knack of it. Basically, trussing it is a fancy word for tying it in a way that prevents it from drying out and ensures it cooks more evenly. It is not necessary though, so if you find yourself without twine or a lack of time or desire, you'll survive.
  5. Sprinkle the salt over the outside of the bird. Add a few shakes or twists of crushed pepper as desired.
  6. Simply pop in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes. Don't touch it, don't baste it, just leave it alone and either go take a nap, catch up on some laundry or play with your kids. Just don't forget to set the timer.
  7. When done, allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving. If there's pan juices, feel free to spoon over the meat (or not) after carving..
  8. Serve along side some regular dijon mustard to dip the chicken into and a simple green salad. Dinner is done!