And the answer is roast chicken. That is what I will cook for myself at home when I want something that will make me smile and make the house smell terrific. I am on a bit of an aroma kick these days, smell really does spark memories and lead you down paths often forgotten. However, that is not my point today. My point is the need to roast a chicken so that everything cooks evenly, the skin is crispy and the wings are meltingly tender. I have found several things to be true about roasting a chicken. First, brining helps. We make a brine with smoked soy sauce, maple syrup and water. If you do not have smoked soy sauce, use smoked maple syrup and regular soy sauce. Second, brining is not necessary, though if you skip the brine do not skimp on flavored butter. Soften some butter, season it with salt, lemon zest and minced allium: shallots, scallion, onion, whichever one you have on hand. Then remind your wife to take off her wedding rings as she will be the one to separate the skin from the flesh and tuck butter in the void. Note, the rings tear the darn skin. After the butter is in place, let the bird alone. Third, split the bird down its back with kitchen shears. Lay the bird out on a foil lined pan and place season it with salt on the top and bottom. In the picture, we have placed the bird on a nest of broccoli rabe. The broccoli rabe will steam under the chicken and pick up the most amazing flavor. We have also done this with onions and braised artichokes and I am sure root vegetables would work as well. Roast the chicken in a 400 degree F oven for 50 minutes. Use a brush to baste the bird with the fat and juices which come out of the chicken during the roasting. After 50 minutes, turn the oven off, leave the bird in the oven and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. Remove the bird from the oven, pour off the pan drippings and skim the fat. Carve the bird and distribute the vegetables if using. And look, if you ignore everything I say do remember that the key to the chicken is splitting down the back and just roasting. It really does produce a most delicious bird. And finally, leave the back bone in place because it allows for more crispy skin and more secret nuggets of tender roast chicken.
*Unfortunately we have no after shot, the time the bird rests in the oven does me in every time and I just well, butchered the bird and started eating. I guess you will have to try for yourself to see and taste the results.