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One of my intentions for 2016 is to try to really focus on having almost everything that I consume be grown locally. My husband is on board as well (after we drafted up a list of list of a few nonnegotiable items like coffee. And, chocolate).
Together, we have taken lots of baby steps towards local food over the last three years and we do pretty well for the most part, especially in the summer. But, I just think it would be pretty neat to really make this an effort with the best of our ability year round.
Some of our first steps were dabbling with gardening and trying to make the farmer’s market our go-to place for vegetables. This was great, but as we learned more about local food, we wanted to buy more local food.
And, we are not a vegetarians. So, I needed to learn more about local meat sources.
I could always get pastured chicken delivered right to my door (here at Scratch Mommy we love Home Grown Cow and the services they offer), but toward the end of that first summer of eating local I finally connected with a farmer who sells pastured chicken and I couldn’t wait to try it.
This farmer only sold whole chickens.
In fact, it was hard to find any farmer selling just a package of breasts or thighs.
I love this post about my experience with that first whole chicken (and here on Scratch Mommy I share how you can break down a whole chicken into pieces)! …But, I had never cooked a whole bird before, so I was intimidated and nervous by the whole concept. Today, though, with a couple years and a few more whole chickens under my belt (we actually raise our own now!), I love cooking a whole chicken.
I love getting a bird out to roast all afternoon on a Sunday. I love how the aroma slowly wafts from the oven through my home making it feel so cozy. I love that the slow and low process is so traditional and makes me feel timeless. I also love the nourishing chicken stock I get from the leftover carcass!
But, I hate that this slow roasting process is basically impossible to achieve on a weeknight.
After work, meetings, and the gym I can’t have a chicken in the oven for hours. I don’t have kids yet, but have only heard that kids have a tendency to make things like getting dinner on the table even more challenging. I can’t help but believe there is some truth to this, so I know a busy family can’t have chicken in the oven for hours most weeknights either. I needed to learn how to cook a whole chicken FAST!
So, when celebrity chefs and popular food magazines recently started sharing a simple and super fast way to roast chicken, I was all ears.
Their claim was that all you needed to do was to roast a whole bird at 500 degrees for ten minutes for every pound. So, say you have a four pound chicken? You would roast it for 40 minutes.
I was skeptical.
Would it really cook all the way through in that short amount of time?
And, if it did, would it be charred to a crisp because of the super high heat?
Wouldn’t it be dry?
500 degrees is hot… Would my smoke detector blare through the house the whole time?
Despite my skepticism, I gave it a try.
I grabbed a two and half pound bird from my freezer, let it defrost in the fridge for a couple days, and pulled it out for dinner after a busy day at work.
I let the bird come to room temperature as I settled into the house and did some minimal prep. All I added was a little olive oil, sea salt, and pepper to the skin. Things like lemons and garlic could be added to the cavity, if desired, but if I was going the simple route, I was going to keep it very simple.
Once the oven reached 500 degrees I put the chicken in on a roasting pan breast side up and hit the timer for 25 minutes.
I checked on the bird periodically anticipating smoke or a splattered mess.
Instead, I found neither.
The bird’s skin was becoming perfectly golden and crispy. The sputtering sounds and scents of the meat gave me the same warm and fuzzy, traditional cooking feelings I get with a whole chicken roasting low and slow all Sunday afternoon. And, upon exiting the oven, the bird was cooked through, yet still incredibly juicy.
So much for skepticism. It was simple, speedy, and delicious. Perfect for a week night…or even to switch things up on a Sunday! You have got to learn how to cook a whole chicken FAST!
*Note: We have had some readers state that following this recipe gave them a house full of smoke. Yikes! Claire cooked a 2.5 lb chicken, so a very small chicken. We have not tested this recipe with a large chicken. You’ll want to make sure that you have a deep roasting dish (avoid glass as it can get too hot, clean metal is best) and a clean oven to start (or debris will burn).
- Move oven racks so that the chicken will be on the rise second from the bottom. Heat oven to 500 degrees.
- Let chicken come to room temperature on the counter. Trim any fat and remove any giblets.
- Cover the chicken in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. If lemon or garlic is desired, place in cavity.
- Place chicken on a roasting pan, breast side up. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes per pound of the chicken, or until the juices run clear. (Example. If using a four pound chicken, roast for 40 minutes.)
- Let chicken rest ten minutes upon removal from the oven.