Julia Child once told me that making a good roast chicken is the mark of an accomplished cook.  Perhaps it is because making simple dishes taste delicious is really what it’s all about.  This is a foolproof recipe that has become a staple in our house.  The breast comes out incredibly moist, and the entire chicken is infused with rosemary and garlic flavor.  Here are a few tips to ensure success:

1. Begin roasting the chicken with the breast side down to keep it moist.

2. Roast on the “bake setting” for two thirds of the total cooking time, then switch to “pure covection” and raise heat for the final third. This will ensure deliciously crispy skin while keeping the chicken moist.

3. Collect and discard all the fat that melts away as the chicken cooks. Then place the roasting pan over the stove, add little water, and loosen the “tasty bits” to make a delicious sauce to coat the chicken with after it’s carved.

This is also ideal for summer because the leftovers are just as good cold and perfect for a picnic.

Roast Chicken

(From How to Cook Italian by Giuliano Hazan)

1 (3 ½ pound) chicken


Freshly ground black pepper

3 medium cloves garlic

2 fresh rosemary branches

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1.  Preheat the oven to 375° on the regular bake setting.

2.  Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.  Sprinkle some salt and pepper inside the cavity.  Lightly crush and peel the garlic cloves and place them inside along with one of the rosemary branches.  Close the cavity on both ends with toothpicks.

3.  Rub the olive oil over the skin of the chicken.  Chop the remaining rosemary and sprinkle it all over the chicken along with some salt and pepper.  Put the chicken in a roasting pan with the breast down and place in the oven.  Calculate approximately 25 minutes cooking time per pound (1 1/2 hours for a 3 1/2 pound chicken).  After one third of the cooking time has passed, about 30 minutes, turn the chicken so the breast is facing up.  After the chicken has baked for two thirds of the total cooking time, about another 30 minutes, switch the oven setting to convection heat and raise the temperature to 400°.  If your oven does not have convection heat, simply raise the temperature to 425°.

4.  To check if the chicken is done, pierce the flesh near the leg joint to see if the juices run clear.  If they do not, roast for another 10 minutes and test again.  Remove from the oven and let the chicken stand for 5 minutes before carving and serving.