Many nights when I’m running late, I’ll stop at the grocery store and buy a roasted chicken. When I get home, I make a quick salad and voilà, dinner is done. But really, with a little advanced planning, roasting my own chicken isn't that much extra work for a simple, delicious dinner at home.
According to Chef Sal Zappone, owner of Zappone’s Italian Bistro, “Everybody loves a great roasted chicken.” His recipe is a take on his mother’s version. “It’s all about using the rosemary and the garlic and letting it marinate so the flavors really develop,” he says.
Zappone suggests that you buy an organic chicken. “Spend a little extra money. It’s going to taste a lot better,” he says. He also advises you cook the chicken until it reaches 175-180 degrees, especially in the thigh area. Then be sure to let the chicken rest a few minutes before cutting.
“When people eat this chicken, they say it’s the best chicken they’ve ever had. I try to tell them that it’s a very simple dish. Everyone can do this.”
Tuscan Roasted Chicken with Potatoes
4 cloves minced garlic
¾ tsp. salt
1 ½ tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 ½ lbs. (3 large) Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into ¼ inch thick slices
1 tsp. paprika
1 (3 ½ pound) whole chicken, patted dry
1 lemon, quartered
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees with rack in bottom third. Line the bottom of a (15 ½ x 12 inch) roasting pan with foil.
2. Combine first four ingredients in a small bowl and mash into a paste. Transfer 1 tbsp. garlic-rosemary mixture to another bowl and stir in 1 ½ tbsp. oil. Add potatoes to roasting pan with oil mixture and toss well. Arrange in a slightly overlapping layer in pan.
3. Add paprika and remaining ½ tbsp. of oil to remaining garlic mixture. On a work surface with breast side of chicken up, tuck wings underneath. Loosen skin from top of breast and from thigh and leg. Work half of garlic mixture under the skin, then rub remaining mixture over chicken. Place lemon inside cavity. Place chicken breast-side up on top of potatoes.
4. Roast until a meat thermometer inserted into fleshy part of thigh registers at least 170 degrees— 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes before carving. Serve chicken with pan juices and potatoes alongside.
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