Sunday, September 25, 2011

Crisp-Skinned Roast Chicken

While driving to work the other morning I heard Dick Stein and Nancy Leson talking on NPR about crispy skinned roast chicken. When you start salivating over roast chicken that early in the morning, you know it’s a recipe worth trying. Plus roast chicken falls on my list of top ten favorite foods.

The secret? Baking powder.

...And being able to plan a day in advance because this chicken has to sit in the fridge overnight. And I figured as long as I was going to the trouble, (even though it wasn’t much trouble at all) I may as well roast two chickens and get a few meals out of it. Lucky for me we have a spare fridge the garage, because there’s no way I would have been able to cram two whole, raw, uncovered chickens in my regular fridge.

Below are the simple ingredients and steps. But I recommend you go over to The Paupered Chef and check out their visuals and step by step instructions – the wittiness is copied word for word from their site.

Crisp-Skinned Roast Chicken, via Baking Powder
The Paupered Chef / Cooks Illustrated
• 1 chicken
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Night before:

1. Pat dry the chicken, inside and out.

2. Cut four slits along the back of the bird.

3. Carefully loosen the skin from the breasts, thighs, and legs. Tuck the wing tips under the bird (I didn’t tuck anything).

4. Mix together the salt, baking powder, and black pepper.

5. Cover the chicken with the mixture.

6. Place on a rack in a roasting pan and set in the fridge for one day. Uncovered, of course.

About an hour and a half before you're going to roast it:

1. Take the chicken out of the fridge. It will look kind of gross after a day. Oh well.

2. Emily’s notes: I stuffed the chicken full of chopped onions, whole garlic cloves, fresh thyme, rosemary and sage. I also poured some apple juice and a can of Coors light in the bottom of the roasting pan for some steaming liquid. This is optional!

3. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. When the oven is hot, flip the chicken on its breast and roast on a rack in the roasting pan for 25 minutes. (I had to ask Curtis which side was breast side down. Really.)

4. Flip the chicken breast-side up. Roast until temperature hits 135, about 20 minutes. (I never stuck a thermometer in my bird, just followed their instructions.)

5. Crank the heat to 500 degrees. Cook until chicken is 160 degrees, another 10-15 minutes. (At this point my kitchen was starting to fill with smoke and the bird was getting borderline black n’ crispy, so I pulled it out early… and it was perfect!)

They're getting Crispy!

6. Let it rest before carving in. Admire the skin, and try not to eat too much.

Seriously moist!

We served it with Thai rice, roasted sweet potatoes and garlic and green salad.
We ate all we could eat and then I saved the rest knowing I could make chicken pot pie, chicken salad or just do a repeat of this fabulous meal again the following night.

They weren’t lying. This chicken was moist and had the tastiest crispy skin! The dog and cat were lingering hoping, praying and wishing we’d drop a bite or two on the floor.

And I threw all the bones, onions, etc. in a big pot with water and made chicken broth. I put the broth in recycled pasta sauce and Mason jars and into the freezer so I can use it later for soup or chicken pot pie. It’s the meal that just keeps on giving!


  1. I love me some roast chicken! Can't wait to try this out. It's amazing how good your house smells within minutes of it going in the oven! This doesn't look like much cooking time- what size birds did you use?

  2. I agree, it smelled so good and made me so happy! I bought the two pack of chickens from Costco... not sure what size they were. I'll check it out next time I'm there and let you know!

  3. This looks delicious. Perfect for Fall, and I love your plan for making it work for multiple meals AND a stock! I will definitely be making this soon. Thank you for sharing!

  4. I always thought of roast chicken as the kind you buy at the grocery store! This sounds so easy, and looks delicious!! I'm excited to give it a try one of these rainy, fall nights!

  5. Now that I've handled a turkey this doesn't seem as scary to me. That looks like a delicious meal! Next up - Oktoberfest chicken!