Saturday, May 21, 2011

Roast Chicken with Tangerines, Rosemary and Honey

I first published this recipe way back when I had no followers, so since I am on a little vacation I decided to re-publish it and put this very deserving recipe in the spotlight again. I'm ashamed to admit I cannot figure out how to remove the small pictures and process them through Flickr to make them larger, so be patient with me. As I mentioned below, this is the perfect method for roasting a chicken. If you have never attempted this before I really recommend you do it this way first to ensure success.

I love roasting whole chickens. I used to be afraid to attempt it. I have had visions of undercooked, raw bird and blood. Then having to deal with the dilemma of "do I stick it back in the oven and guess as to when it would be done?" Of course, I was always wrong with the guess resulting in a tough and dry bird. This trauma coupled with the fact that I once made a roast chicken for my Grandma Grillo that was a tad undercooked. I cannot even describe the level of freak out she had. I don't even know what happened exactly. I know she has always been concerned about salmonella but the next thing I knew my Grandpa was putting the dish of already carved chicken into the microwave to cook it longer. Gasp. This night resulted in making Jeremy a complete freak about salmonella. It was all too much chicken trauma for me, I suppose. I thought "chicken breasts for me!" But then, a couple years ago I stumbled upon the perfect method for roasting a chicken. So perfect, it's fittingly called "perfect roasted chicken". That recipe is in a word, fabulous and I normally don't deviate away from it, but instead, I will do variations of it. Once you have the method down, you can do anything you want with roast chicken. I love the versatility of it and there is nothing and I mean nothing better than the smell of roasting chicken and herbs when you are done with the day. I usually stuff mine with 1 halved whole garlic head, lemons and thyme and I scatter onions with a bit of olive oil on the bottom of the roasting pan and stick the chicken on top. Then, I'll rub it with a bit of melted butter and salt and pepper it. It smells like you died and went to heaven after the first 5 minutes. My Mom, who made the occasional roast chicken while I was growing up, would cover it in every spice she could find in her pantry. I'm not kidding, whatever she had, it seemed, went on this bird. Chili powder and lemon pepper for sure, accompanied by any combination of garlic salt, Lawry's salt, cayenne, and Mrs. dash, I imagine. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if she unloaded a bottle of hot sauce on the poor thing too. I don't think my mom really gave much thought to which spices go best together as much as she thought, "the more spice (of any kind) the tastier". I think that is her motto overall. It will probably come as no surprise when I tell you that my Mom loves salt. She is known to over salt things, if only on her own plate. She absolutely loves lemon juice too. Actually, she probably squeezed lemon juice over the whole chicken before adding all those spices. She puts it in practically everything she can.

I decided last night to deviate from my favorite roast chicken and try something new. I still stuck to the same tried and true method though. I think the trick is to buy a chicken within the 5-6lbs range. If they are a little lighter, that's OK too, but don't stray too far from that range. At that weight, you can cook it at 425 for exactly 1 1/2 hours and it will be perfect. Just make sure you cover it in foil after it's done to let it rest for 10-15 minutes. This is essential, because all the juices redistribute back through the meat during the rest period, making it moist. If you cut into it right away and don't let it rest, it will surely be dry. Sometimes at our house, when we cut into the dark meat the juice will look a little pink, but it is always due to there being blood on the bone ( I know, it's gross, but it's a fact of life) This does not mean the meat is not cooked. To ensure the chicken is safe to eat, after letting it rest out of the oven for a couple minutes, pierce the skin between the leg and the thigh with a knife. If the juice that runs out is clear (not pink or bloody) then you are golden. If not, I don't know what to tell you because it has never happened to me using this method with the right size chicken. (although, we can probably all assume that you could just stick it back in the oven for 10-15 minutes or so)

This is a great springtime chicken, I think. Not that it wouldn't be great any season. The citrus and slight sweetness is a welcome change. Also, I have to admit, my Mom's "everything but the kitchen sink" philosophy on chicken, is pretty darn tasty too.

Roast Chicken with Tangerines, Rosemary and Honey
adapted from Eugenia Bone's Recipe, Food and Wine Magazine

1- 5-6lb whole roasting chicken
4 garlic cloves, peeled
6 fresh rosemary sprigs
3 tangerines, washed and halved
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup honey
salt and
freshly ground pepper
1 3/4 cups chicken stock

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Set the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan and stuff the cavity with the garlic cloves, rosemary, and 4 of the halved tangerines. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine (available at the supermarket) Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and rub with the olive oil. Squeeze the remaining two tangerine halves over the top, and then pour on the wine. Drizzle the chicken with the honey and season with salt and pepper. Add a cup of chicken stock to the bottom of the pan.

Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, but 30 minutes into roasting, cover the chicken loosely with aluminum foil (so the honey won't burn) then, 30 minutes or so from the time the chicken will be done, add the remaining 3/4 to 1 cup chicken broth to the bottom of the pan (the first cup will have evaporated, and the pan will have black drippings)

Let the chicken rest at room temperature covered in aluminum foil for 10-15 minutes before cutting into it (you may however, pierce the skin between the leg and the thigh to check for
done-ness) Pour the pan juices into a gravy separator and remove the oil/fat from the top. (alternately pour the drippings into a cup and spoon the fat from the top and discard)

Serve the chicken, carved with the pan juices poured on top.

I like to serve this dish with roasted sweet potatoes and an arugula salad with Parmesan cheese shavings and sunflower seeds mixed with a simple lemon and olive oil salt and pepper vinaigrette that I make myself. If you are using bottled dressing, I'd pick a red wine vinaigrette.


  1. Of course this sounds delicious. I have a chicken phobia as well and usually make it in the crock pot now. This will be a less time consuming and far less kitchy way of handling my phobia.

    I love salt, too. Shame. So bad for you!

  2. I love how bright and colorful this chicken is; it looks so inviting and delicious!Your pictures always look amazing and your recipes are so easy to follow. Can’t wait to try these.