Whole Roasted Rosemary Garlic Chicken…My First!

I don’t know why this was always such an intimidating idea, but roasting a whole chicken always seemed a bit of a challenge. Too much time, too much preparation, too much experience and knowledge. I never really felt like getting my hands that involved in my food.

But we’ve been into these roasted chickens from Pricesmart lately. They are juicy and succulent and a pretty good price (3 lb chicken for 6 bucks? is that good?). But more and more I’ve felt a little defeated by this delicious chicken. So I decided that over the holidays I would take on the challenge of roasting my own bird. Finally today I had the time. I went and bought a scant-3-pounder from the market, and searched all my favorite websites for advice. I had no idea how to cook a bird. I dont have a thermometer, and when they all said “until the juices run clear” I was really really confused. What juices? What is the exact definition of clear? But I went for it.

I made a brine by grinding fresh rosemary, an entire head of garlic, and a generous amount of salt and olive oil. After washing the chicken inside and out — which I found to be a depressing procedure, considering how alive the non-dismembered meat appeared — I smeared the brine inside and out, even under the skin. (Its even sad to talk about). I stuffed it with quartered limes, onions, and a large bundle of rosemary, thyme, and an unplealed head of garlic. I drizzled everything with oil, preheated the oven to 375,  lined the toaster oven pan with foil, arranged some sliced potatoes onions, and limes around the endges, drizzled more olive oil, and place my cherished bird on top. I didn’t have “kitchen twine” (whatever that is) so I used dental floss. It worked perfectly, by the way. I put her in the oven and set the timer for 60 minutes.

When the alarm sounded, following some peoples advice, I poked a breast with a knife to see if the “juices ran clear”. To my surprise, they did! It was almsot like a fountain, and at the moment I wished I had had a thermometer instead so the succulent juices would have stayed within the meat.

I cranked the temperature up to 450 for another 10 minute just to brown the outside a little more (Hec really likes toasty chicken skin). I removed her from the oven, covered it with foil as my dear father always does with the thanksgiving bird, and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Then we cut her up and boy oh boy was this the juciest tenderest most delicious chicken I can remember eating in my life. I’m bragging here obviously, but it was delicious.

And so here is the dilemma. I really really enjoyed this meal. But it was heartbreaking to prepare. I just couldn’t imagine doing it again. It was too alive, too friendly. I think the chicken we ate this afternoon was a very happy bird, was named Clementina, and would have made a lovely pet.

But didn’t she turn out really pretty? And she really was succulent. Mom, aren’t you proud?!


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