The word is chicken and I made it. That's right. I made a chicken; a whole roast chicken and no sugar was involved. Wait... that's a lie. There actually is some brown sugar in there but I assure you it's all for good reason.
When the temperature drops in New York and you finally get to pull your favorite fall scarf out from under your bed storage containers and the corner markets are fully stocked with rows of pumpkins as the leaves fall in shades of crimson and orange, that's when you crave something homey. For me, that thing is chicken.
Crispy skin and juicy fall-off-the-bones meat. I salivate even thinking about the smell of seasonal veggies and chicken filling up the corners of my apartment. Sigh. Now that's what I call comfort food. It's one of the easiest things to make with the best smelling payoff. When I have company and I want to make them feel welcome this is my go-to. You can pretty much serve it with any side and it will taste magical.
To get my autumnal fix I stuffed my chicken with twigs of fresh rosemary, yellow onion, and cortland apples and smothered the skin in brown-sugar butter. That's right, here's where the sugar comes in. After rinsing and drying off your chicken, whipping a couple tablespoons of brown sugar and a pinch of salt into unsalted butter will give your chicken that crispy skin we all dream of. The key is getting some of that sweet and salty butter underneath the skin to coat the meat.
Rustic Roasted Chicken
- 1 6-8 lb chicken
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 medium yellow onion
- 1 large cortland apple
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425°F. Prepare roasting pan by roughly chopping your yellow onions and apple into 1/2 in cubes. Put about 2/3 of the chopped produce into the roasting pan and set aside the other 1/3. This will go into your chicken.
Remove chicken from packing and dispose of the bag of giblets inside (ugh, so gross). If your like my mom you can use the giblets to cook up some gravy later but personally I remove this bag with tongs while trying not to gag. Rinse the chicken under cold water being sure to scrub away any sort of residue on the skin and rinsing the inside of the chicken. Lay onto a small stack of paper towels and pat dry with another couple of paper towels. Make sure to fully dry the chicken to ensure the butter will stick well.
In small bowl, whisk together the softened butter and brown sugar. Split butter mixture in half; two tablespoons for under the skin and two tablespoons for the outside. Now comes the gross part.... using your fingers, lift the skin from the breast and stick your fingers inside to spread some brown-sugar butter onto the bottom of the skin and to coat the breast meat. Repeat this for the legs and wings as much as possible. Once you've been thoroughly grossed out, use the second half of your sugar butter to coat the outside of the bird.
Open up "the butt" and stuff in the rest of your apples, onions and the rosemary. Tie the legs together to close up "the butt" with some kitchen twine and finally sprinkle some salt and cracked pepper over your buttered bird. Place the bird into the roasting pan and place in the oven.
Cook the chicken at 450 for thirty minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350. Continue to cook for another 50 to 80 minutes. My 7 lb chicken took about 95 minutes to cook thoroughly. You can use a meat thermometer to check that its done or slice one of the legs to see if the juices run clear. If the juices are even slightly pink, continue to roast for another 10 minutes at a time or until they are clear.
Remove from oven and let cool for at least thirty minutes before carving. This allows the juices to soak back into the chicken and makes the chicken cool enough to carve without burning your fingertips off. Enjoy!