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Help with roasting a chicken for the first time

  • s

Ok so I am roasting my first chicken. It's a 'roaster' type and it's 7.3 pounds.
I've bought a disposable aluminium roasting pan. I'm not cooking roast veggies, or wanting to make a gravy. Just simply, how hot an oven and for how long?

I don't have access to any herbs, bacon, etc and the chicken will be used mainly for pulling apart and using in a chicken pie dish, do I don't care how crispy the skin is and I'm certainly not going to stuff it (not that I have anything to stuff it with anyway). My oven in a very old electric one with no fan force, or anything fancy, No glass to look through to see how thing's are getting along inside the oven. So I find things need to cook a little longer as there is a drop of heat each time I have to check if anything is burning.

ANyway hope I can just get some generic how to's.


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  1. 1. Wash, drain, and dry chicken (optional)
    2. Rub with salt in and out (optional)
    3. Leave in ref for a day or thee (optional)
    4. Pre-heatoven to 425F
    5. Place chicken on rack or on rough cut onions/carrots in pan
    6. Pan in oven
    7. 425F for 10 minutes
    8. Turn oven down to 375F and leave for 60 - 70 minutes
    9. Take out, let cool, stand on ass to drain cavity

    On the other hand, if I were you and were making chicken pot pie, I'd just cut the chicken up in 10 easy pieces and poach: place in pot of water, bring to a boil and simmer (or off) for 20 minutes.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

      Agree with the poaching recommendation. Although, if the OP is making a chicken pie, it might be nice to incorporate the drippings into the sauce for the pie, and in that case, I'd bake. But it sounds like gravy is out, so nevermind.

      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

        60 - 70 minutes does not seem long enough for a bird that size.

        1. re: souschef

          You're right. Could go for more time; but snax is also using the chicken in a pot pie that will also cook the chicken a bit more.

      2. I usually use Marcella Hazen's recipe for roasting chicken, though generally use a smaller chicken than you have To summarize: Rinse the chicken, pat dry, season with salt and pepper. Puncture a lemon with a fork and put into bird's cavity. CLose opening with toothpicks. Put chicken in roasting pan, breast side down and cook at 350 for 30 minutes. Flip the chicken over and continue cooking. Usually I turn the heat up at the end to crisp the skin, but doesn't sound like you are interested. Calculate about 20 min total cooking time per pound for a smaller bird, 15 min/pound for a larger bird (more than 6 pounds) but would recommend using a meat thermometer to make sure.

        1. I understand that you don't have spices etc. and don't want to get fancy, so to speak. But, at *least* salt and pepper the outside and cavity.
          If you have olive oil and butter on hand, give the chicken a coat of olive oil and a smear of softened butter, then salt and pepper.
          You do want to season, even if the chicken will be used in a pot pie.
          Also, you don't have to wash. The cross-contamination from splatter and transfer of germs has put me off of rinsing.
          If the chicken's skin is wet at all as you are about to prepare it, blot it with paper towels.
          My question to you is, do you have a thermometer to check the temp?
          Good luck!

          1. To check for doneness -- First, wiggle the legs. If they do not move freely, it's not done. Then, to be sure, take a fork and prick the skin where the thigh joins the carcass. The juice should run clear (yellowish). If it is pinkish, it's not done.

            1. I love the Zuni Cafe method - it's cooked in a cast-iron skillet. Browned on top of the stove then placed in the oven and turned every 20 minutes. Great skin, moist meat. Delicious.

              3 Replies
              1. re: bayoucook

                The Zuni chicken size is 2 3/4 to 3 1/2 pounds, this OP has a big chicken -- 7+ pounds!
                I don't know if the Zuni instructions would produce the same wonderful results.

                1. re: blue room

                  That's true - that got past me. The last one I did was 5 lbs. and it worked fine - took longer to cook and had to use my largest skillet, but oh, it was soooo good.

                2. re: bayoucook

                  You browned the chicken on top of the stove? That's not how I cooked my chickens Zuni-style. I pre-heated the roasting pan in the oven though. Can you explain your method?

                3. Nothing is simpler than Sarah Moulton's Blasted Chicken.

                  Preheat oven to 450˚. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper and place in roasting pan.

                  Roast for 45 minutes, or until the juices run clear when thigh is pricked with a skewer and drumstick/thigh joint moves freely. (Pay special attention to the business of clear fluids and loose joints rather than the time when roasting such a large bird.)

                  Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Let stand for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

                  NOTES: A cup of coarsely chopped onion and or lemon halves can be inserted in the cavity before roasting.

                  Do yourself a favor and dump the aluminum. Get yourself a decent roasting dish which you can also use for things like mac & cheese or lasagna.

                  And when you get some spices, this blend is excellent for seasoning a roasted chicken: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/Roast-St... Of course, you'll discover many other combinations.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: rainey

                    ISTR that her recipe is built around '45'. Roast a 4.5 lb bird at 450F for 45 minutes. That mnemonic makes this recipe incredibly easy to remember.

                    1. re: ricepad

                      That's Sarah Moulton for you: easy, uncomplicated, good and reliable.

                      Wish the same could have been said of the Food Network that didn't know how to appreciate her! ...wonder what she's doing since Gourmet folded? I hope whatever it is will mean we'll see more of her again.

                        1. re: ricepad

                          Yes, adorable and charming. But also Executive Chef at Gourmet and intern to Julia Child. Looks and personality PLUS real ability!

                          Guess which one the Food Network doesn't care about?

                          1. re: rainey

                            Made blasted chicken on Monday night--I heard it from Melinda Lee (radio show here in LA) and she said 45 min for a 2.5 lb. bird. So I added 10 minutes per pound (5.5 lbs=1 hour 15 min) and it was PERFECT. I didn't even salt and pepper the bird and it was really good, the juciest bird I'd ever had.

                            1. re: sarrae

                              Glad it worked for you! No question Zuni Chicken is FABULOUS but for a beginner, Blasted Chicken is no-fail, easy as can be and also extremely good.

                  2. Thanks ppl for the help to get me started. I really like the idea of poaching the chicken, but as I have a massive chicken (next time I'll just buy the small one) I'm going to have left overs for a lunch, so I will roast it this time. When poaching, do you remove the skin?

                    I live on a small island and I can't buy a thermometer or a nice roasting dish. But I do have butter, salt, pepper, onions, garlic, small carrots, and some island limes.

                    I'm thinking about making a potato salad to have with a chicken drumstick for lunch then making this pie later for dinner. This is a big step up from our usual 2 minute ramen.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: snax

                      If you are going to eat the rest as is, go with a method like mine or the other similar ones. You can also cut up the chicken, poach what you need (don't remove the skin for poaching) and roast the other pieces.

                    2. Given your purpose, if you butterfly/spatchcock the chicken - that is, cut out the backbone and flatten the bird, then roast skin-side up - or cut it through completely, detach the leg quarters, and roast it in 4 pieces, it will go faster and you won't need to turn it.