My father does not like chicken. He does not like any poultry, in fact, an astonishing little nugget of family information. Apparently, my grandfather (my father's father) wouldn't eat any poultry either, which begs an undoubtedly fascinating debate over whether taste buds are determined by nature or nurture. Fret not, we will table that conversation for another time.
My mother, being her mother's daughter, didn't slow down for a moment despite my father's poultry aversion, and chicken was in full rotation for our family dinners. She occasionally hoodwinked my father and let him think something was veal, when it was actually chicken. For the most part, Dad just pushed the chicken (or duck or turkey) around his plate and ate a lot the following night.
I no longer bother with whole chickens. Although convection ovens work very well to evenly cook the bird, I still find it much easier and faster (and tastier) to cook the chicken in six pieces. Usually, I ask the butcher to cut a broiler into six pieces for me, rather than buying packaged chicken parts. I also only use organic, free range chickens. They taste better and don't have bad stuff in them.
I season the chicken with olive oil and my favorite sea salt/Herbes de Provence mix, but Lawry's Seasoned Salt and Pepper work well too.I often toss in some root vegetables or mushrooms (in the photo above, I used onions and button mushrooms) to roast in the same pan. Then you have a one dish meal. Done. It's also great with any kind of rice or grain or a tossed salad.
For gravy, I bring the pan juices to a boil and whisk in a couple of tablespoons of flour or cornstarch.You just can't lose with this one.
Classic Roast Chicken (serves four)
One small broiler, cut into six pieces
Sea salt tossed with Herbes de Provence or Seasoned Salt
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
2. Place the chicken pieces, flat and skin side up, in a roasting pan
3. Drizzle some olive oil over the chicken and season with the salt and herbs
4. Pour enough water or white wine into the pan just to cover the bottom
5. Roast until done, about 45 minutes to an hour for convection ovens, add 30 or 40 minutes for conventional ovens. Chicken is done when skin is browned and crispy.