“‘Sunny day! Sweepin’ the clouds away! On my way to where the air is sweet.’© Can you tell me how to eat, how to eat that lovable beast?”
To those Gen X pop culture elitists who believe in the sanctity of Sesame Street and think roasting one of America’s most beloved birds would be an unconscionable act: Dismount from your high horse, get thee to the market and pick up any old whole chicken. But, remember this – the bigger the bird, the more succulent the meat. When faced with such a crisis of conscience – childhood innocence versus the refined palette, nursery rhyme nostalgia pitted against an overachiever’s appetite – one must soldier on. So, puff up those feathers and head straight for the checkout. It doesn’t get much juicier than Big Bird.
Roasting a whole chicken is one of the most cost-effective ways to feed an entire puppet-filled street. Just about every amoral slob can find enough change in their couch to buy a two-pound bird. More importantly, when prepared properly, cooked perfectly and served with profundity, this meal will delight even the grouchiest of garbage can dwellers.
- 1/2 one lemon
- 1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- Salt and pepper
- 1 whole chicken
- chicken from McKinnon’s Meat Market
- herbs, garlic, and butter from Savenor’s Market
- lemon stolen from The Druid
Make the Compound Butter:
1. Zest the lemon using either a microplane zester or a vegetable peeler. Dice the lemon peels.
2. In a food processor, combine the parsley, garlic, fresh lemon juice, diced lemon peels, and softened butter.
3. Mix ingredients into a smooth, creamy paste. Note: If your lazy roommate doubles as your food processor, instruct him or her to finely chop all the ingredients and mash them together until achieving the proper the consistency. Remind your (possibly still lazy) substitute food processor that personal poundings continue until the butter compound submits to a state of perfection.
4. Season the resulting compound butter with salt and pepper. Set buttery goodness aside, keep at room temperature.
1. Lay the chicken flat on its back with the legs facing away from you.
2: Carefully peel back the skin slightly from the top of the breast. Using two fingers, feel for the wishbone at the top of the breast.
3. Once located, use a small paring knife to cut it out. If a knife doesn’t work, make a seam and pull it out with your fingers.
Feel it Up, err…Spread it On:
2. Carefully loosen the skin away from the breast using your fingers.
3. Stuff the butter compound under the skin and gently spread it across the muscle of the chicken breast, working your way under the skin to cover the whole bird.
1. Cut a 3-foot length piece of butcher’s twine.
2. Tuck each wing backwards and underneath the bird’s back. Place the twine under the bird with the middle falling under the neck. Pull each end towards the legs, under each breast.
3. Take each end and wrap it around the outside of each leg, then criss-cross the twine under the leg. This makes a Figure 8 between the legs. Pull the ends tight so the legs are compacted.
4. Pull the string toward the neck on both sides, under each breast and make a simple slipknot at the base of the neck; tighten the twine. The bird should now resemble a neatly corseted, little package.
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Place the dressed bird in the oven and cook for approximately 30 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Note: Checking the actual internal temperature of the chicken requires a meat thermometer. The aforementioned lazy roommate does not suffice as an appropriate substitute.
This recipe serves 4
Serve with Caramelized Fall Vegetables.