Try it at Home: Roast Your Own Chicken
Preheat oven to 425°F (I used a convection roast setting). Line an oven tray with tinfoil and roll a piece of foil to use as a circular base for the chicken. Fill a small bowl with olive oil, 3-4 cloves chopped, crushed fresh garlic, 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh or dried rosemary leaves, juice from 1/2 of a freshly squeezed lemon, a dash of pepper, and a couple of sprigs of fresh parsley. Stuff the inside of the chicken with a bunch of fresh parsley and the remaining half of the lemon after you have squeezed the juice into the olive oil mixture and on the chicken. Using a basting brush (or your clean hands if you don’t have a brush) evenly spread the olive oil mixture onto the chicken and underneath the skin.
Tie the legs together with baker’s twine or other oven-safe string (I used thread). Place in the oven and set your timer for an hour. Temperatures may vary based on your oven settings and desired crispness. Check on the chicken frequently throughout the hour. It will be done when the internal temperature is about 180°F.
I learned an important lesson about roasting chicken last night: Don’t assume that the bird you buy will be ready to cook. Last week, I put my knowledge from the Tufts Culinary Cooking lesson with Dining Services Chef Toby to work and roasted two chickens for a dinner with my family and friends. Much to my delight, the chickens turned out beautifully and tasted even better. Last night, however, my effort to repeat the experience for my grandparents did not work out quite as easily as planned. The problem: the chicken had been frozen and was not fully de-thawed. Given that my first chickens had been ready to cook when I opened them, I made the rookie mistake of thinking that this was a standard. Last night however, just as I opened the package and got ready to start seasoning I realized that this bird was way too cold. Long story short, while the outside appeared cooked, when we sliced the chicken and were about to serve dinner we noticed that the inside was far from done and we had to return it to the oven and begin our dinner sans chicken.
Lesson Learned: Let the chicken de-thaw overnight in the fridge before attempting to cook. Don’t assume chickens in the fresh meat section were not previously frozen.