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When in doubt, roast a chicken

In a world filled with recipes it’s every cook’s dilemma — what to make?

When you need something easy yet delectably delicious, quick enough for week nights yet fancy enough for company and agreeably inexpensive, roast a chicken!

Who doesn’t like really good roast chicken? I’m talking brown crispy skin over the most succulent juicy meat.

The secret to no-fail, beautiful every time, perfect chicken is high temperature roasting, also called “blasted chicken.” Everyone has their version of this technique and here’s mine. I’ve been using this technique for more than a dozen years as my go-to method of preparing a whole chicken.

One word of advice – your oven must be clean. If not, the high heat will burn all the gunk in your oven and smoke up the whole house. And that’s not very Diva. To be on the safe side always use the exhaust fan when you blast a chicken. My kids used to call this “smoke alarm chicken,” ’nuf said.

BLASTED CHICKEN

Yield – 4-to-6 servings; prep time – 20 minutes; cook time – 45 minutes; rest time – 15 minutes.

1 (3 ½ to 4 pounds) whole chicken– rinsed and patted dry. Salt and pepper.

Ridiculously detailed directions: preheat the oven to 450 degrees for at least 15 minutes so it’s good and hot. Season the whole chicken liberally with salt and pepper. I don’t advise using other spices as they can burn. Do not truss, do not stuff, and do not attempt to baste during cooking.

Place the chicken, breast up, uncovered in a roasting pan to contain the juices so they don’t run all over the bottom of the oven and smoke up the whole house.

Shut the oven door, set the timer for 45 minutes and walk away.

Resist the urge to peek. When the timer goes off, check for doneness by inserting a thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh where it should read 165 degrees. The temperature will continue to rise as it rests.

This next part is so important. You must let the chicken rest, tented loosely with foil, for at least 15 minutes before you slice into it. The juices need to redistribute. If you skip this step all that beautiful juice will run out on the cutting board instead of staying in the chicken.

I like to serve this with butter and garlic brown rice, steamed green beans with a squeeze of lemon. Be sure to spoon the pan juices over the chicken.

Can you use this technique with larger birds? I don’t recommend it for chickens weighing over five pounds. The outside will dry out long before the insides cook completely. It would be better to cook two smaller birds. That’s better anyway because then there are enough legs for everyone. Delish!

Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Frugal food finds contributed by Patti Diamond, authorn of “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!,” www.divasonadime.com.

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