Want the secret to chicken that’s crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, yet decidedly “fat-reduced” too? Cook the bird on a vertical roaster. This way, the chicken roasts while sort of standing up (I suppose you also could say that the chicken is sort of sitting down) on wire racks over a 7-inch wide drip tray. And, boy, does that drip tray fill up with grease! This ingenious, inexpensive appliance is available in hardware and cookware stores. But I found mine — a stainless-steel model by Norpro — on Amazon.com. Be sure to place the vertical roaster inside a larger, heavy roasting pan whose sides are at least 1 1/2 inches high (a standard lasagna pan will do).
Simple Whole Roast Chicken
- 1 whole roaster chicken, about 3½ lb
- Olive oil, for brushing
- Fresh lemon, cut in half
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Garlic powder, if desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Thoroughly rinse chicken and pat dry. Using a food scissors, cut off all visible fat, including the "bum" of the chicken, which is pure fat. Sometimes, if I'm in the mood, and I have been lately, I also perform a breast reduction by snipping off the fattiest part of the skin above the breast. Rather than let the naked breast meat dry out while roasting, I brush the skin with a little bit of olive oil. The idea is to replace bad fat (i.e. chicken skin) with good fat (olive oil).
Set up the vertical roaster; squirt some cooking spray on the racks. Doing so makes removing the cooked bird easier and also gives you an edge on clean-up, because meat is less likely to get stuck on the greased racks. Translation: No need to scrub the racks! (This is what I call "preventive householding.")
Squeeze the lemon halves all over and inside the chicken. Season with salt, pepper and, if desired, garlic powder. "Sit" the chicken over the vertical racks, then roast it for about 80 or 90 minutes. It is done when you slice near the thigh and the juices run clear. Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before serving.
Serve with Balsamic Roasted Broccoli.