So I’m taking part in a couple meal trains, and my default meal for such things is a roast chicken with potatoes and veggies.
My recipe for roast chicken is pretty simple…preheat oven to 450, rub spices and salt on bird, put in oven, clean potatoes, rub oil on potatoes, stick in oven above chicken, 60 minutes after the chicken went in everything should be perfect. Add a salad and voila.
This is super flexible for easy meals. If someone lives close by, I can cook the birds myself and take them over the minute they come out of the oven–they will “rest” in the car on the way over and be perfectly timed to be carved when they get there.
If they live farther away, or need food dropped off well in advance of the meal, it is still simple. I rub the birds and clean the taters and oil them up and put everything in a foil roaster pan… The instructions for the family will be simply “Preheat to 450. Put pan in oven. Set timer for 60 minutes. Take chicken out and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before serving.”
This results in a bird with crisp skin, juicy white meat, crunchy wing tips (my fave) and tender leg and thigh meat. I use antibiotic free chicken from Trader Joe’s, at about $7-8 per bird, organic red potatoes, and whatever greens happen to be convenient. I might toss in some fruit if I’m long on it. Simple, allergy friendly, fast, and less work than going out to fast food.
The secret is the oven temperature… setting the oven even 25 degrees lower results in less crispy skin, longer cooking time, drier white meat.
Salt is VITAL to a crisp skin–it helps dry the skin out.
With cheap chicken like this, it’s not so vital to use every bit of it the way I would with an organic free range roaster, but we often throw the carcass in a pot, boil it, separate the meat, then add leftover veggies, potatoes and spices for a delicious chicken soup.