Our Adventures In Cooking ~ Roast Chicken

This is our favorite way of preparing Roast Chicken, and I thought I’d share the details of how we cooked yesterday’s Sunday lunch.  My role is preparing and carving the chicken, harvesting the extra meat following the meal, making the broth, and washing the dishes – while my wife brushes on the olive oil, seasons the chicken halves and prepares the side dishes.

The day before (Saturday):

  • Rinse and pat dry a whole, defrosted young chicken (ours was 5.13 pounds), discarding only globs of yellow fat, while keeping the skin and tail
  • Rinse and place the neck and giblets into a large pot with 3 inches of cold water, cover and refrigerate
  • Cut the chicken carefully into two halves (poultry shears are best, but I use a knife)
  • Rinse and pat dry each half, placing them skin down into a roasting pan (we use an oven-proof glass pan without a rack, but any oven-safe roasting pan/rack combination will do)
  • Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight

The day of (Sunday):

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  • Remove the roasting pan with the chicken halves from the refrigerator, brush the back sides of the chicken with olive oil, and season to taste (salt, pepper, chicken seasoning, etc.)
  • Turn the chicken halves skin-side up, brush them with olive oil, and season to taste (salt, pepper, chicken seasoning, etc.)
  • Add enough water to the roasting pan to just cover the bottom
  • Place uncovered on the center oven rack and set the timer for 1 hour 45 minutes (ours took 1 hour 55 minutes)
  • Prepare the side dishes of your choosing (we had French fries and mixed vegetables)
  • When the chicken is cooked (I go by eye and experience, but use a thermometer if in doubt), remove from the oven, cover with aluminum foil and let stand on hot pads for 15 minutes
  • Carefully lift the chicken halves from the roasting pan and set individually on plates for carving (there will be drippings covering the bottom of the roasting pan)
  • Carve off select pieces of chicken for the meal, but set aside all bones and skin during the meal for later use in the broth
  • After the meal, harvest the extra meat from the remaining chicken carcasses, placing the meat into a container along with some juice from the carving plates to keep the meat moist, cover, and refrigerate or freeze for later use
  • Place all the bones and skin into the large pot with the saved neck and giblets from the day before, along with all the drippings from the roasting pan
  • Fill the roasting pan 2 or 3 times with water, scraping the bottom of the roasting pan to free up the seasoning and baked on bits, and add the water to the pot
  • Add a bay leaf and enough water to fill the pot approximately 3/4 full and slowly bring to a boil, and then immediately turn the burner down to simmer (Caution: stand there and continuously watch the pot, as the water will foam over the sides very quickly after a boil is reached – if this happens, turn the burner off – and using oven mitts lift the pot away from the burner, later returning it to simmer after it’s cleaned up…I speak from experience)
  • Once the boiling has visually subsided, partially cover the pot and simmer for one hour
  • Let cool a while, then strain the contents into another container (covered pot or bowl), and refrigerate, while discarding the strained bones and skin
  • Remove the covered pot or bowl from the refrigerator once chilled, and skim away and discard in the trash the congealed fat using a soup spoon
  • Refrigerate and/or freeze the remaining rich, brown chicken broth, which can be used in many ways: gravy, soup, etc.
  • An expanded technique that we occasionally do with chicken and turkey is to make chicken or turkey stock in a stock pot, which involves cooking down a variety of vegetables (carrots, onions, celery, leeks, parsley, bay leaves, black peppercorns) along with the skin and bones for a couple of hours on low heat after reaching a boil, with everything but the broth discarded afterwards, as the vegetables are spent (used up) at that point from the making of the stock (refrigerate and later skim the fat off with a soup spoon and discard in the trash)
  • If using your homemade stock for soup, add fresh vegetables and the cooked noodles of your choice
  • Have fun and enjoy!
Our Roast Chicken

Our Roast Chicken for Sunday Lunch


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