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Let’s face it, creating a sublimely moist, flavorful chicken with crispy skin is culinary nirvana.

If roasting the perfect bird is on your “epicurean bucket list,” look no further. It doesn’t matter if this is your first roast chicken or your 100th, I can guarantee a foolproof, sensational meal with these tips and this simple recipe. 

Recipe for Perfect Roast Chicken

Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients: 

  • 1 (5 to 6 pound) chicken
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 lemon, halved crosswise
  • 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
  • 1 onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoonfuls butter, melted
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Preparation:

Remove giblets from the chicken cavity. If necessary, remove any pin feathers (anything resembling a “pin” or porcupine quill). Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry. Season the cavity with salt and pepper and stuff with the thyme, lemon and garlic. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body.

Place the onions, carrots and bell pepper in the bottom of a roasting pan. Toss the vegetables with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the vegetables in the center of the pan and arrange the chicken on top (tuck all veggies under the chicken; exposed pieces may burn during cooking). Brush the chicken with the butter and season with salt and pepper.

Roast for 1 1/2 hours, or until juices run clear when pierced between the leg and thigh. Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a platter and tent with foil for 20 minutes.

Slice the chicken onto the platter and serve.

Once you’ve mastered this simple version, here’s how to jazz things up: 

Arrange additional vegetables around the chicken for the last 30 minutes of cooking (first, cube or cut into wedges, toss in olive oil, season with salt and pepper). Great choices include Brussels sprouts, parsnips, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, red potatoes, and wild mushrooms.

Before serving, top with basil pesto, mango chutney, olive tapenade, salsa verde, or balsamic glaze. 

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