If you like a little heat with your meal, I have the recipe for you. It has just the right touch of heat with a bit of sweet to tone it down and goes great with potatoes or pasta.
Roaster Chicken (this one is 5 1/2 pounds)
3 Tb Butter
1 1/2 c Orange Juice
Rub: Equal parts of salt, black pepper, Paprika and Chili Powder
Begin by mixing the rub together. I usually measure 1/4 cup of each ingredient and store the extra in a glass jar for next time. If you only want rub for 1 chicken, 2 Tb of each should be enough. Shake it up and it is ready to go.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees placing the rack in the middle position of the oven. Wash your chicken and pull out any extra parts you might find. These will be located in the main cavity or in the back under the extra flap of skin. If you like to cook with them, throw them in the pan with your chicken. Grab some paper towels give the bird a good pat and make sure it is totally dry. You may want to let it set for a couple minutes to make sure no water keeps draining off.
Once you are sure it has completely dried, place it in the baking dish of choice. Miss Julia Childs would gasp at what I am about to tell you, but I never truss up my bird as I can never seem to keep any string in the kitchen for when I need it. So I tuck the wings under the bird so they don’t get overcooked. Some day I will own a Le Creuset dutch oven, but until then, I stick with a good old Pyrex casserole dish.
Gently use your hand to loosen the skin on the breast of the bird. Go back as far as you can and even over the thigh. Now let’s start seasoning this bird! Sprinkle some of the rub into the cavity (don’t forget the tiny one in the back), on the skin and under the skin where you were able to loosen it. Don’t worry if some falls into your dish it will make the sauce taste even better. The more rub you use, the spicier your end result will be. Cut your orange into quarters and stuff into the cavity. Break the cold butter up into small bits and stick them under that loose skin. This adds flavor, helps keep the breast moist and the skin crispy. A good tip is to prepare the chicken in the morning and let the spices really penetrate the meat as it sits all day in the fridge. That means little prep work in the evening. If you happened to tear the skin place a toothpick in the pieces and hold it together. Once it is cooked remove the toothpick and nobody will ever know it was there.
Place the bird in your preheated oven for at least an hour. Depending on the size of your bird, you will need to cook it longer. This photo was after 75 minutes. If in doubt, always use a meat thermometer and place it in the dark meat near the bone but not touching it. It is best to use the type that wil keep in the bird while it is cooking. Piercing the bird while it is still hot ensures all the juices will run out and you will end up with very dry meat. A good sign the bird is done is when the drumstick moves freely if you wiggle it.
Now is a good time to skim off some grease but make sure to leave all those bits behind as they are chock FULL of flavor. Pour in the orange juice and give it a good stir with a fork, breaking those bits off the bottom. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes.
This is when you have to decide what kind of sauce you want to serve. If you like more of a gravy consistency thicken it up while the chicken is resting. Mix 2 Tb OJ with 2Tb cornstarch and pout it into the sauce, bringing it to a boil. I usually serve it just like this and skim off any more grease from the top. you can also pull out an immersion blender and it will have a lighter color when you are done, but it will all be blended together really well.
Don’t forget to let the chicken rest in a warm place 10 to 15 minutes before you carve it up.
Serve with the sauce on the side or drizzled over the chicken. I typically have potatoes or pasta on the side and we pour extra sauce on that as well.
I hope you give this simple recipe a try. It requires a little bit of time abut is so worth the results. Enjoy!