I've roasted plenty of birds in my time, including that albatross, the Thanksgiving Day turkey (not an actual albatross). But, as you can see in the photos below, even I make mistakes. Two weekends ago I decided to roast a chicken because it was a little chilly outside and seemed like the perfect autumn dinner. I also wanted to make some homemade stock for future soups/risottos/stews/etc. Well, while trying to prep the bird and talk on the phone and make a side dish all at the same time, I ended up roasting the bird upside down! Now, if you're not planning to present it on a platter to a room full of guests, it doesn't matter. Some recipes have you roast a bird breast side down for at least half of the cooking time anyway, the theory being that the juices will collect in the breast meat, preventing it from drying out. Roasting a chicken upside down for the entire cooking process is fine, it just won't look all that pretty.
This past weekend I decide to give my roast chicken another go, mostly because I was a little embarrassed by my sad looking bird from the previous weekend. As you can see in photo 2, that bird looks much more familiar. But with regard to being pretty, I should have trussed the legs so that they're not all splayed out, looking like the bird is birthing a whole lemon (or maybe you like that look). Anyway, once again I wasn't presenting it to anyone, so I didn't care. Incidentally, both birds I purchased were kosher and tasted delicious. I was tempted by the cheaper conventional bird ($4 vs. $9 for the kosher!), but I really think you sacrifice flavor. Practice makes perfect!
1. Upside down bird
2. Right side up bird
Whole Roasted Chicken
One 3 1/2-pound chicken, preferably kosher or organic
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 whole lemon, cut in half
2 rosemary sprigs
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Pat the chicken dry. Use your hands to carefully loosen the skin from the chicken breasts, thighs, and drumsticks. Spread 3 tablespoons of the butter evenly over the meat under the skin. Rub the remaining butter all over the outside of the chicken.
2. Generously season the chicken all over, including the cavity, with salt and pepper, then stuff the lemon and rosemary into the cavity. Tie the drumsticks together with kitchen twine, if desired. Place the chicken breast side up in a roasting pan. Roast the chicken for 50 - 60 minutes, until golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the inner thigh registers 165°. Transfer the chicken to a work surface and let rest for at least 10 minutes. Carve the chicken and serve. Serves 4.