I got a panicked mail through my contact on this site, from a young woman who has to roast a chicken on Sunday for her parents, they are living together and her mother sprained her ankle and she has never cooked much of anything before. She had 50 questions, should she brine, breast up, breast down, just reading to the end or her message caused me stress.
Money is tight, like most everyone I too was laid off and have not been buying meat during this crisis. I went to my freezer as I had a memory of laying in an emergency chicken a while back. It was there, no freezer burn so I thawed it in order to come up with the simplest possible preparation.
Dry the skin well, you can use towels, or leave uncovered for a day in the frig, but wet skin will not brown.
Take a big chunk of butter (one stick in the US) and mix in the following IF you have them, and feel free to mix it up.
Sage (fresh or dried)
Thyme (fresh or dried)
Don’t get upset, even just salt and pepper will make it taste great. Use what you have, but you had better have garlic.
First rub the butter/spice mix everywhere, inside and out, then peel a head of garlic and stuff the inside with garlic cloves. They will roast along with the chicken, make your hous smell great and you can spread them on bread.
Now prepare your base…again what do you have?
I sliced a zucchini, bunch of mushrooms and some potatoes, hit them with olive oil, salt and pepper and put them in a cast iron skillet with the chicken on top.
Now put in a a 140 oven 290 US.
Walk away and do not open the oven door to look, check or baste. Set a timer for two hours.
The house is going to smell terrific in the first hour. Keep that damn oven door shut.
When two hours is up you can look and depending on the size of the chicken it will either be done or need more time. Tug the wing and it should separate easily, stick a fork in the thigh and the juice should run clear. Small natural bird 3 pounds or less are done after two hours, larger will take 3. Shut the barn door, a 3 hour roast for chicken, but won’t it be dry?
No, this is the same temperature they use for those rotisserie chickens you pay far too much money for, low and slow and while that chicken has been doing it’s thing, those vegetables have softened caramelized and browned a bit.
I suggest a pita or some warm flat bread to grab bits of chicken and vegetables in. Eat with your freshly washed hands of course.
Now that my emergency chicken has been consumed it is time for chicken soup.