Because it’s soup season, I’ve taken to roasting whole chickens (generally the organic, air-chilled, fresh variety). One challenge is that I actually don’t own a proper roasting pan (as an aside, I like to serve in the dishes I cook in whenever possible, and an au gratin pan will work just fine thankyouverymuch), and have been borrowing frequently from our neighbors–so we’ll see for how long I can keep this up.
To wash or not to wash? Studies and logic say washing the chicken will only spread the germs via water around your kitchen. You’re better off not washing it unless there is something clearly gross that should be swept away. I know–but your mother use to do it. Well, your mother didn’t have the internet, did she.
Cut the chicken in a few places: on either side of the leg joints, above the arms. Make sure the cavity is clear and you aren’t leaving a plastic bag of giblets in there (I tell my butcher to keep’em). You have a few options now, but generally the simplest thing is to stuff the cavity with 4-6 garlic cloves, half a washed lemon, and fresh herbs such as rosemary.
I also pull the skin apart from the meat along the breasts and anywhere I can get to so that it crisps up, and then stuff a few sprigs of rosemary or whatever herb of the day under there. I’d recommend parsley, thyme, sage, or rosemary.
In your roasting pan, rub the chicken well with olive oil and coat with sea salt (coarse, grey, flavorful if possible) and cracked pepper. Throw a few whole, small tomatoes alongside the chicken and coat in olive oil, salt & pepper. Add some garlic cloves on the outside there too, if you like.
Roast at 350 for 30 min-1hr depending on size of chicken. Leg should wiggle firmly when yanked and it’s done, and will have a nice color to the outside.
After you eat it or use the meat in soups, be sure to save the carcass in the freezer or use immediately to make some stock.