Roasting a Chicken

Meat intimidates me.  I’ve always focused on baking and let Dan take care of all of the entrees.  Since our role switch I’ve been making a lot of excuses about why I’ve been cooking mostly vegetarian dishes but the real reason is that I don’t like dealing with raw meat.  I make croissants and caramels without thinking twice, but a whole roast chicken intimidates me so much that I spend most of the week staring at it making up excuses as to why I’m not cooking it.  My favorite stalling technique is to tell myself that it is still a bit frozen.


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I’m ready for my close up!

However, I can only wait so long, today was the day that I needed to cook the chicken or call it a loss. Since I’m not one to waste food, I put on my big girl pants and got to making a chicken. I pulled up an old blog post and for good measure opened up Jamie Oliver’s recipe.  Let’s just say that I need a remedial lesson in roasting chicken…  Poor Dan kept having to come in and correct my technique.  In order to make the next time easier I decided to write it all out step by step. (with pictures for some steps)


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Check out my trussing skillz

Roast Chicken Step by Step


Note: All in all it takes about two hours but most of it is hands off. There may be 17 steps but that is just because I broke it down to simple levels. There are very few dishes but the roasting pan is a pain in the butt to clean.


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1. Take the chicken out of the packaging and remove the bag from the cavity and any other packaging (including the pop-up timer).  Preheat the oven to 425 and place the roasting pan in the oven to get hot.


2. Wash the chicken with water (not soap-like Adrian from RHOBH).


3.  Face the feet of the chicken away from you and take one hand to grab the skin and take a finger and slowly and gently push your finger under the skin and open up a small tunnel all the way down to the drumstick.  Repeat on the other side. (man that sounds dirty)


4. Pour some olive oil and sprinkle some salt down each of the tunnels.


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5.  Divide the basil into 3 equal portions and put one in each of the tunnels and save the third for later.

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6. Flip the bird over so the breasts are down and the legs and thighs facing you.  Take a knife and cut a small slit over the thigh and push half of the remaining basil over the thigh.  Repeat on the other side of the bird.


7. Flip the bird back so it is breast side up. Now it is time to truss it.  I did a bit of googling to realize that there are a few different kinds of ways to truss a chicken.  This is the one that we learned at a cooking class a few years ago. Let’s call this method the Wonderbra method (sort of shown here) since this method accentuated the assets of the bird.


8. Cut a lot of twine and put the center of the twine under the bird near the wings.


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Bring the twine between the wing and the body and then back around through the wing at the joint


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Bring the twine around the outside of the wing


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and cross both sides of the twine in the middle of the breast and again under the body


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Take the twine and pull it around and under the chicken thigh


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bring the twine up and around the feet and pull them together.


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Wrap the twine around the feet so that they are pulled tight and tie the twine securely

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And now your chicken is trussed!

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9.   Sprinkle salt and pepper over the chicken and then coat with olive oil.  Flip the bird and do it again on the other side. 


10.  Move the chicken, breast side up and put it in the roasting pan.  For a 5 lbs chicken we cooked for 1:16.


11.  Take the chicken out of the oven and move it to a cutting board but let it sit for 10 minutes.


12.  Once the 10 minutes are up it’s time to start carving!  Here is a great video if you are more of a visual person


13.  To start cut the bird with the breast side up and cut down along the leg. slice the skin where the leg meets the breast.  Pull the leg away from the body until you hear a pop, sometimes you will need to get in there and cut more to fully detach the leg.  Repeat on the other leg.


14.  There is a bone running down the middle of the breast, find it with your hand and put the knife to one side and start cutting until the breast and wing detach from the body.


15.  We leave the thigh and drumstick attached but you and flip the leg so that it is skin side down and look for the joint and cut there to detach them.


16.  To cut the wing off of the breast find the joint and break it off of the breast, cutting where needed.


17.  Make sure that each piece still has the skin attached. It is the best part!