This recipe is more about the technique of roasting a chicken than the recipe. An ingredients recipe is included, but outside of the chicken itself and the way it's roasted, everything else is up for interpretation. Your interpretation. What sounds good right now? It's your flavor palette waiting to be created. What seasoning combinations do you love? Throw it on there and roast that baby!
Unpackage your chicken and drain the liquid from the chicken and COV (cryovac packaging... it's the packaging that is air-tight and heat-sealed. Awesome stuff).
Trim the tail and extra skin from the cavity opening.
Place your chicken on a broiler/roaster pan. These are those enameled grey pans with white speckles. It comes in two parts... the bottom pan, and the grill that sits on top. The whole point of this pan is to make sure that your chicken doesn't sit and stew in its own juices. For some applications, that's a great thing. For roasting a chicken, turkey, or a carmelized beef roast, it's not. If the chicken sits on the bottom of the pan, roasting in its own juices, it'll come out soggy, oily, and weird. Totally gross. If you don't have a broiler/roaster pan, some people like to put down root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and onions to raise the bird. I don't. They taste weird to us and we always end-up throwing them away, and very often everyone is so grossed-out by them, no one eats the chicken, either. Mental block. But each to his own, so try it if you want to, and see if you like it.
Turn the chicken so it's breast side up. You'll know it's breast-side up when the wings are attached down at the pan, and sticking up. We're going to season the bird this way, then flip it over, season the other side, then roast it breast side down. Start dusting your seasonings, flip it, and dust the other side now.
Why breast-side down? Breast meat is white meat, and it's very lean. Fat is our friend in roasting, because it keeps the meat from going dry, and chicken breasts don't have much fat at all. The rest of the chicken is mostly made of dark meat, which is fatty meat, so it stays tender just about any way you cook it. Think gravity. During roasting, frying, and baking, the breast is the part that dries-out and gets stiff, grainy, stringy, and tough, as the juices fall downward and out of the breast. If you roast it breast-side down, all the juices from the chicken's dark meat drain INTO the breast and keep it moist, as opposed to draining the breast to moisten the dark meat of the rest of the chicken that's already going to be moist.
If you need a pretty bird for guests, you can roast is breast-side UP by adding two slivers of length-wise cut butter under the breast skin. Take a cold stick of butter, cut 1/4 of the stick lengthwise, twice. This will give you two long, 1/4-sticks to shove under the skin. Take your index finger and at the opening of the bird cavity, slide your finger under the skin and open enough room under the skin over the breast to slip the butter in. Do this for both breasts.
However, if you're cooking for yourself and the family, roast breast-side down for taste. This doesn't make for the prettiest chicken breasts, but the breast meat is to-die-for, and taste is where it's at around here.
Drizzle oil of your choice over the bird. I use oil in a squirt bottle and drizzle it until all the seasonings are moistened. If you don't oil your seasonings, they'll come out all dry and dusty like they went in. Can't use water, sorry. It'll dry-up quickly and again, you'll have dry seasonings coming out of the oven. The oil also helps crisp the skin and infuse the seasonings into the meat as everything melts downward, while creating a moisture barrier and protecting the bird from drying out.
BAKE: 400 °F for 12 minutes for every pound of chicken. The average bird tends to be about 5 pounds, so that would be 60 minutes.
CONVECTION: 375 °F Actual convection temperature. If your oven is like mine, and you put it on convection bake or convection roast and enter 375 °F, it'll automatically recalculate the temperature and lower it to 350 °F. That's not what you want. If your oven recalculates (it'll tell you it's doing it and you'll see the temperature change to 350 °F), then enter Convection Roast/Bake at 400 °F and it'll adjust down to 375 °F. Convection bake gives a more even baking by using a fan to circulate the air through the oven which is awesome in every case. It also gives the outer layer of whatever you're baking a crispier crust, which is awesome in most cases.
Remove your chicken from the oven, and cover with a patted-down fit of aluminum foil right there on the broiler pan. You want to prevent your valuable moisture from escaping your chicken. While it was uncovered in the oven, the oven is a largely closed room for it, so moisture recirculates. Out of the oven, vaporization is a risk during the first 10 minutes, so pat some aluminum foil around your bird while it gets through the transition of oven to cool room.
You are ready to cut that baby up and serve it!