Cooking at home is not just cheaper and safer than eating out or ordering in, its also definitely a healthier lifestyle choice. Preparing food neednt be an elaborate affair. Just a few of oursimple strategies can help you crack the toughest recipes. We bring you a series of articles with tips and tricks for the kitchen, so you can learn how to cook like a pro, and avoid the mistakes that haunt rookiesand seasoned chefs, alike.A roast chicken is a celebratory dish and makes even the simplest meal feel special. Whether it is the holidays or you just felt like making a healthy, delicious item that could be stretched over a couple of meals, a roast is always a welcome addition to the table. When it comes to cooking a roast, timing is everythingbut a few other pointers like perfecting the level of seasoning and getting the temperature right, are crucial as well.Read on for suggestions on the tools, techniques and ingredients needed to whip up restaurant-worthy results with your roast chicken:
- Cold War: Avoid popping a cold chicken into the oven. A cold one will take longer to cook and you will get uneven results, so let it come to room temperature for 30-45 minutes after getting it out of the freezer.
- Deadly Damp: Dont wash your chicken because a damp bird will lead to soggy and limp skin. Remove the plastic it came in, and pat dry with paper towels before you start prepping. Make sure it is totally dry before you begin, for best results.
- Heat Meter: Depending on how you want your roast to taste, you should select your cooking method. For melt-in-the-mouth chicken with meat that falls apart effortlessly, you might want to cook it slowly, for around three hours, at a low temperature such as 300 degrees. But if you want crackling, crispy skin, then wed say high heat over a short time is a better choice.
- Pause For Effect: Resting the chicken post-cooking will allow the juices to redistribute through the bird instead of oozing out onto your cutting board. It will also let it cool enough to carve.
- Skillet Skills: If you choose to cook it for a short time on high heat, give it a flavor boost and save oven time by roasting it on the stove top in a cast-iron skillet. Once it is nicely seared to a golden hue, transfer the skillet to an oven set at 425 degrees. Your chicken will cook in under an hour depending on its size.
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- Splurge For Taste: Buy the best your money can get, which means spending a little more and avoiding the bargain birds at the supermarket. If you are lucky enough to have access to free-range, grain-fed chicken, go for it. Deeper flavor, and a more satisfying as well as nutritious meal is guaranteed.
- Season Finale: Season well, and not just superficially but actually rub down the chicken with a good amount of salt and pepper, making sure to get the back, go under the wings, between the thighs and especially inside the cavity. Remember that the salt coating will help the skin brown evenly and give it a rich, even color.
- Flavor Boosters: You can of course, add aromatic ingredients like ground and whole spices, fresh or dried herbs, citrus fruit slices, garlic and onion, as these will infuse the bird with aromas through the cooking process. Dont be afraid to experiment with items like balsamic vinegar, a hint of spice pastes or a splash of smoky alcohol.
- Liquid Gold: The fat that collects in the roasting pan during the cooking process is delicious and redolent with flavor. Dont even think about throwing it out. If you like, you can layer vegetables like onions, potatoes, carrots, or fennel at the bottom of the roasting tray, and place the chicken on top so they soak up all the melting fat and become aromatic, tender and chock full of flavor. Another option is to remove the chicken once it is roasted, throw big chunks of bread into this residual fat and pop the tray back into the oven until the bread turns crunchy. These croutons will spoil your taste buds for life.