Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Best Roast Chicken

Nothing conjures up the perfect Sunday dinner than a good roast chicken and this one did not disappoint. I recently discovered my favourite pork vendor at the market sells Meat King chickens, which are huge birds, over 10 lb birds.

I like to do a variety of tricks and techniques for a super tasty bird. First, I squeezed half a grapefruit over the bird (or orange, but I was all out), added salt and pepper and some dried and local lemon verbena. I added the other half of the grapefruit and a halved onion into the cavity (half a head of garlic would be fantastic as well). Next comes the fun part:

Nothing beats bacon

BACON! That's right, layer that over the bird. Ours was unsmoked, so it wasn't the best choice, but it did the trick and we didn't have to add any butter to it. 

Bacon as a snack? Why not!

I roasted it at 400 until the bacon was crispy (makes for a great mid-afternoon treat) and reduce heat to 325 and cook until chicken has reached 170 on your meat thermometer. 

Oh Baby...

Oh baby....

While the chicken was finishing up, I roasted some potatoes, onions, garlic and carrots on a separate baking sheet. I boiled the potatoes and carrots for about 10 minutes to make for extra crispy potatoes and carrots and used pan drippings, salt, pepper, lemon verbena and paprika to season the vegetables. 

Roast Chicken and Vegetables

Jeff has a trick he learned from The Barefoot Contessa. When you remove the breast, cut into chunks so everyone has a chance to have chicken with skin. I like it and it helps me eat a lot less chicken. 

Since I was on a citrus theme, I couldn't resist making this delicious cake for dessert:

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

I couldn't take a good picture from the side, so you'll have to trust me that this is a perfectly moist and delicious cake that's perfect after a big meal or with a steaming mug of coffee as a mid-afternoon treat. 

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

1 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
1 cup softened butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp poppy seeds
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup yogurt or sour cream


1 cup icing sugar
5 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice


2 tsp lemon juice


1. In large bowl and using fingers, rub sugar with lemon rind until fragrant. Beat in butter until light. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each. Beat in lemon juice. 

2. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, salt and baking soda; stir into butter mixture alternately with sour cream, making 3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 of sour cream. Scrape into 8 greased and floured 1-cup (250 mL) mini Bundt pans or 5- x 3-inch (625 mL) mini loaf pans, or one 9- x 5-inch (2 L) loaf pan. 

3. Bake in 325°F (160°C) oven until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean, about 30 minutes for Bundt pans, 1 hour for large loaf. Transfer pans to rack. 

Icing: In small bowl, stir icing sugar with lemon juice until smooth. Divide in half. 

Glaze: Stir lemon juice into one half of icing; brush over hot cakes. Remove from pans; let cool on rack. 
Drizzle with remaining icing, adding a little more lemon juice to loosen if necessary.



  1. DELICIOUS! I have something else planned for tonight but now I really just want to scrap it!

  2. That looks great! I'm going to have to try the bacon technique. Did you put any bacon underneath the skin as well?

  3. @Adventures - let me know how your roast chicken turns out.

    @Improbable - I didn't put any under the skin, but that sounds delicious. You can't go wrong with bacon!

  4. looks yummy, I never seem to get roasters right so I usually get those cheesey Purdue in a bag roasters. Need to learn to do it well so I can get better chicken meat then that.

  5. YUM. I've never cooked a whole bird before. I'll probably never get the chance-- that's Chef B territory.

  6. My mum does it with bacon too. Seriously, I think bacon is the super food for the new millennium.

  7. @TenderHeart - the benefit of cooking your own bird, especially a good, meaty sized one, is the leftovers (see today's post on just one of three soups I made). Totally economically and completely delicious.

    @Mamachromatic - how does Chef B like to cook his chicken? I'd love to shake it up.

    @Alyson. I totally agree. Bacon is the BEST. We couldn't have survived the 100 Mile Challenge without a steady supply of bacon.


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