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Restaurants & Bars 32

Roast Chicken (a long rant and a recipe)

Bob Brooks | Feb 5, 200405:25 PM

I eat a lot of roast chicken, but almost always at home. Because we're remodelling our kitchen, I've been forced to eat a lot of take-out lately.

In the last ten days or so, I've had roast chicken from Lula's Pollo a La Brasa, California Chicken Cafe, Zankou and Costco.

This stuff is DRECK! I can't believe anyone eats this on a regular basis and thinks it's good! With the marginal exception of Zankou, none of these birds has a crisp skin. And, without exception, their texture is positively, disgustingly, mushy.

While I admit that Costco does a relatively good product at such a low price ($4.99). The others are just vile, especially California Chicken Cafe's off-tasting product.

Since these places are regularly praised here, particularly Zankou, before anyone attacks, please do me a favor: Make a roast chicken at home. The way I do it. Here's how:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Very liberally salt and pepper a 3.5lb fryer (no larger!). Melt 3 tbs of butter in a 10 inch cast iron skillet (this is important, no substitutions). Roll the bird around in the melted butter so that it is well coated and then place it in the oven on its side for 15 minutes. Then turn it on its other side for 15 minutes. Finally, set it breast side up for 30 more minutes, basting it occassionally.

Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before carving.

I have experimented with putting things in the cavity, such as lemons, garlic, rosemary, etc. And, while these things are all fine, ultimately they just take away from the pure chickeny flavor that you started with, and which I crave.

Bottom line, I challenge anyone to make this dish at home and tell me that Zankou, or any of these places, is better.

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