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January 23, 2020


One of my favorite things to buy when I’m at the marché in France is a roast chicken. They are cooked in large rotisserie grills. As you approach, you see rows and rows of glistening chickens turning golden brown. But it’s the taste that is truly amazing: crisp, juicy, and so full of flavor that once you’ve had one you’re guaranteed to want more.

The other night I tried a New York Times recipe in an attempt to create a roast chicken with extra crispy skin for my family.

“. . . the fastest, simplest and perhaps most delicious way to get chicken skin as crunchy as a strip of fried bacon is to turn it into a giant frico,” said the recipe.

A frico is melted cheese that turns into a crispy cracker when cooled. The trick is to add Parmesan cheese halfway through the cooking process, resulting in an amazingly crispy skin.

Unfortunately, what resulted wasn’t crispy or particularly good. In theory it should have worked and the concept is intriguing enough for me to try it again. 

What didn’t work was the method of cooking the chicken. I know what needs to happen for the chicken skin to be a crispy crust over moist and juicy chicken meat. However, when I followed the recipe, I forgot what I know about roasting. I didn’t cook the chicken long enough, ignoring my knowledge in deference to the recipe.

A good basic roast chicken recipe is essential and should be part of everyone’s repertoire. Once you have the basics down, adjusting the flavors is up to you.

Here is my basic go-to roast chicken recipe

Serves: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Preheat oven 425°

I like to use a small roasting pan that is slightly larger than the chicken. My preference is a large cast iron skillet.

½ cup melted butter
salt and pepper
½ tsp thyme
pinch of cayenne pepper optional
3 cloves crushed garlic
⅓ cup white wine
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 - 4 lbs chicken. Use the best quality chicken you can buy.
1 head of garlic cut in half crosswise
1 lemon cut in half crosswise


  1. Remove gizzards that are in the chicken cavity.
  2. Do not wash the chicken as current wisdom says washing the chicken spreads more bacteria than it removes.
  3. Pat the chicken dry.
  4. Melt the butter, add salt and pepper, garlic, thyme and lemon, white wine, and cayenne if using it.
  5. Brush the outside and the inside of the chicken with the seasonings.
  6. Place the chicken in the lower third of your preheated oven and bake for 1 to 1 ½
  7. Make certain that the chicken is cooked through. With a knife, pierce the skin between the leg and the thigh to make certain the juices are clear.
  8. The biggest mistake people make is to undercook their chicken. If there is any sign of pink, it isn’t cooked enough.
  9. Let rest 20 minutes before cutting.

Mastering a good roast chicken is a must for cooking basics. If at first you don’t succeed, try again. If you need help, email me and I’ll help you figure it out. You won’t regret taking the time to master this recipe.

Contact me with your questions at

What about you?
Do you have a foolproof roast chicken recipe?
let us know I'd love to hear


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