2020 was complicated. Let’s ratchet down a notch and revel in simplicity while we try to adjust to our new year’s resolutions. Let’s roast a chicken. We can pretend to multi-task by reading a book, and enjoying a warm cup of tea. Winter is going to kick in soon. It’s time to burrow in.
Winter brings out the primal cook in me. It seems basic wisdom to turn on the oven, and bake, and roast, and generate a little more heat. (Remind me of this urge when I am whinging on about how tired I am of the long, torpid summertime heat…)
I would love to have a large, cozy kitchen, with a faded chintz slipcovered armchair and a lazy lap-sitting cat who would inspire me to write humorous tales about our happy little suburban lives. Instead, I am sure my kitchen looks much like yours, with ephemeral postcards, photos and receipts held up by magnets on the fridge, a Sunday book section still begging to be read, a drift of bills and papers I mean to get to soon, coffee cups in the sink and the dog toys scattered where we least expect to find them, particularly when we are barefoot and it is dark. Dog toys have replaced the bane that was Legos.
I may not have the trappings of an orderly dream kitchen, but I can close my eyes and dreamily drift along, buoyed by the aroma of roasted chicken wafting through the house. I can enjoy the illusion of a well-ordered life when I follow this easy peasy recipe for roasted chicken from our friends at Food52. Not only does it warm the house, and the cockles of my jaded heart, but it also provides two meals for us, and a couple of little snackums for the dog and that wretched complaining cat.
The Best Roasted Chicken
I also appreciated that except for having to procure the chicken, everything else was in the cabinet (or fridge) at home. I hate finding out suddenly, halfway through a recipe, that shallots are a key ingredient – because I never buy shallots. Or saffron.
Honestly. I wouldn’t pull an odious trick like that on you, Gentle Reader. Because you, like me, can find the basics in your kitchen: garlic, salt and pepper, and wine. (Truth: I did have to use dried thyme, because the thyme and rosemary plants have been long-neglected in the outdoor container garden. I think they have freeze dried. Even the basil plants are looking a little long-in-the-tooth. But we always have wine…)
It was a little unnerving setting the temperature so high (480°F!), I must say. But that heat incinerated the two slices of pepperoni that slipped off the pizza a couple of weeks ago; ones that I hadn’t gotten around to cleaning off the floor of the oven yet. Thanks, Food52 for the deelish recipe!
Here is a roasted chicken recipe from Bon Appétit magazine. It sounds divine, but I worry I would forget to change the cooking temperature midway through. I tend to drift away and read, and unless I set the scary, heart-attack-inducing timer, I might forget…
And finally, here is a Herb-and-Lemon Roasted Chicken recipe, originally from Food & Wine magazine, dissected by the guys at The Bitten Word. They are generally hilarious, and yet are so sensible! This recipe called for herb butter to be placed under the chicken skin, and then for one to flip the bird halfway through the cooking process. They were outraged! And there I was being peevish about remembering to change a temperature! Maybe that’s where the cat gets her howling and complaining ways?
“On the nights I stuffed myself full of myths, I dreamed of college, of being pumped full of all the old knowledge until I knew everything there was to know, all the past cultures picked clean like delicious roasted chicken.”
― Lauren Groff