Holiday Basics: Roast Chicken with Chef Tell It Like It Is


Introducing “Chef Tell It Like It Is,” a new weekly column featuring recipes, shopping advice, and retail reviews along with anecdotes fun, funny and poignant.

Columnist Gary Schuman is a former New York City restaurateur, New York Times restaurant reviewer and State of Florida-certified cooking instructor.

Come for the character, come back for the cooking!

I say roast chicken, not roasted chicken, which is oh so trendo. For those who do not know the difference between roast and roasted chicken: roasted chicken is $4 or $5 dollars more.

But back to the kitchen!

For this recipe, you will need:

• 1 whole chicken
• 2-3 cloves of garlic
• fresh parsley
• fresh sage
• fresh thyme
• ground black pepper
• a scant amount of salt
• olive oil

Preheat the oven to 380 F.

Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Prepare a rub of smashed garlic cloves, parsley, sage, thyme, ground black pepper, salt, and olive oil.

Put on food grade gloves and loosen the skin from the breast at the neck, not the larger opening. Chef’s tip no one will tell you and you won’t see anywhere else: If you pull the skin away from the breast meat at the neck, it won’t rip and leave the breast unprotected; pulling at the other end will.

Apply the rub under the skin all over the breast, then place the chicken in a shallow roasting pan, breast side down (this is important), in the oven. Cook 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven, carefully spill off all the collected fat from the roasting pan, and turn the chicken breast side up. Return to the oven and cook for another 30 minutes before removing again to check if it is done.

Don’t know how to check? One way to test for doneness is “shake hands” with your chicken: Take the drumstick in thumb and forefinger and if it moves with little or no resistance, it’s done. If it is stiff, cook for a bit more.

Pour off fat. Tent loosely with foil. Do not touch for at least 45 minutes, then cut, quarter, and serve as you desire.

If you have any leftovers, just send them to me, care of the JT.


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