One of our household gods, Anthony Bourdain, said: “Everyone should know how to roast a chicken. It’s a life skill that should be taught to small children at school.”
I have always loved chicken. It’s not fancy. It does not need to be complex. It is steady and reliable. It is a blank canvas, ready to take on your vision. It is ready to nurture your fragile soul. It is adaptable, versatile and eager to please.
I knew growing up that my favorite birthday dinner of baked chicken and rice would be reliably crisp, juicy and delicious. I knew the summertime chicken legs, that my father always nearly incinerated on the back yard hibachi grill, were going to be blackened and juicy and scalding hot, but I happily gnawed away at them anyway, gingerly, with newly seared fingertips. On family summer vacations I would eat all the Howard Johnson’s crunchy fried chicken I could get. In college I was a reliably cheap date, because I would always order the chicken dish. Old reliable, that’s me!
I did not entice Mr. Sanders to marry me with the viral chicken recipe currently running rampant on TikTok, though we are rather fond of roasted chicken, grilled chicken, chicken Schnitzel, fried chicken, stir-fried chicken and barbecued chicken. Not to mention chicken Marsala, chicken piccata, chicken kabobs, chicken salad, chicken tacos, chicken and waffles, and chicken pot pie. And we will certainly give the flashy TikTok Marry Me Chicken a whirl – even though it is based on an old, reliable recipe from 2016 in Delish.
There is a chicken dish for every season, every mood, every whim, every budget. As we move from summer into fall, it’s time to take the chicken off the grill, and bring it back inside. Sheet pan chicken meals are an efficient method for preparing chicken, a veg and a starch. Make a salad, light the candles and pour a little wine; ease your way into dinner.
If you are hard-pressed for time, but want to bring comfort home, stop and pick up a rotisserie chicken. With just a little imagination and a modicum of effort, you can have a comforting meal tonight, and can be clever with leftovers: Rotisserie Chicken Ideas from Food52
Since I work from home, I have plenty of opportunities to get the jump on dinner. I think we will prepare Bourdain’s roast chicken, and reap the benefits over the weekend. Maybe we should video the dinner prep and give Marry Me Chicken some competition. It will a nice way to remind Mr. Sanders that he is still adorable.
“The ability to properly prepare a moist yet thoroughly cooked bird, with nicely crisp skin, should be a hallmark of good citizenry—an obligation to your fellow man. Everyone walking down the street should be reasonably confident that the random person next to them is prepared, if called upon, to roast a chicken.”