I got a new Le Creuset Roaster on Craigslist for a song last week, so naturally, I wanted to try it out! I got a cheap roaster chicken from Kroger and after a few simple preparations, it came out beautifully.
Roasting a chicken is something that anyone who would call themselves a cook should master. Before you get started, take a moment to decide what kind of bird you are trying to end up with:
Skin or no skin?
Even though chicken meat has much fewer calories than some other meats, most of the fat (about 30%) is contained in the skin. For many of us, the skin is the best part of the chicken, however if you are keeping a watchful eye on your calorie intake, then you should really try to avoid eating the skin.
In saying this, the skin must be kept on throughout roasting, as it is the skin that holds the moisture in the meat and keeps the fat out of the meat. If you remove the skin beforehand, which is a feat in itself, then the meat, when it is cooked, will be very dry and probably quite tough as well.
Remove the giblets
The first thing to do with your chicken after you have removed it from its packaging, is to remove the giblets from the body cavity. The giblets are usually wrapped up and deposited in the abdominal cavity.
Many people reserve the giblets and use them to prepare soups, gravy etc.
With a chicken you also need to check to see whether the kidneys have been removed. The kidneys are located in the tail end of the bird, in the abdominal cavity and they are a dark red colour. If the kidneys are still in place, they can easily be removed by using your fingers.
Cleaning the chicken
The chicken should then be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed under a cold running tap and patted dry with a paper towel.
Washing the bird will kill not all of the bacteria, but all of it will be destroyed during cooking.
Drying the bird with paper towels will ensure a nice brown and crispy skin.
Season the bird
I used only butter, salt, and pepper. Further, I stuffed it with lemon, onion and fresh parsley. Chicken is a very bland meat and can be made to taste like whatever you want it to.What you decide to use is completely up to you.
Use a meat thermometer
To guarantee that all the bacteria is destroyed and that the chicken is properly cooked, it is advisable to use a meat thermometer to certify that the correct temperatures have been reached during cooking.
Insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken’s thigh, without touching the bone. When the chicken is done, the meat thermometer will have recorded a temperature of 160ºF
Roasting the chicken
If you find that the chicken is browning too quickly during cooking, then loosely cover the breast of the bird with a large piece of aluminium foil until it is done. Covering the breast of the chicken will also keep the meat from drying out.
Roast the chicken for the correct amount of time and then remove it from the oven when done.
When properly cooked, remove the chicken from the oven and leave it to rest for 15 – 20 minutes on a carving board. This will allow the juices to settle.
The juices from the Le Creuset Roaster can be used to make a delicious gravy.
Once the chicken has rested, it will then be ready to carve and serve.