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Roast Chicken as Celebrated in Cookbooks

At the turn of the century and for a considerable time afterward, chicken was an expensive treat, saved and served only for special occasions. Today chicken is easily available and has become an international favorite. Each nation has learned to cook chicken in a manner distinctively their own. Cookbooks from around the globe have countless recipes for this most versatile beast. The cooking methods and flavourings vary according to culture and tradition but the one thing most cookbooks have in common is their presentation of Roast Chicken – a special event.

Julia Child in “The French Chef Cookbook” turns Roast Chicken into “An Elegant Dinner for Four”. Fannie Farmer in “The Boston Cooking School Cookbook” celebrates Roast Chicken as “the quintessential Sunday Family Dinner”. Bee Yinn Low in her cookbook entitled “Easy Chinese Recipes – Family Favourites from Dim Sum to Kung Pow”, writes “Chicken is a must eat for Chinese New Year. Whole Roast Chicken is especially auspicious and it is prepared for prayers to the ancestors in traditional Chinese homes. “ “The Complete Passover Cookbook” by Francis R. Avrutick is spiced with history, laced with lore and includes recipes for Roast Chicken for Passover and other Jewish celebrations. Roast Chicken is also served to mark the end of the Ramadan fast; Irene Day’s “The Moroccan Cookbook” offers a traditional recipe.

Seasonings and preparations vary according to culture and ethnicity; but, the humble Roast Chicken, a taste of culinary greatness reigns supreme and is celebrated in cookbooks from myriad cultures around the world.
Here’s my recipe,

Roast Chicken with Roast Vegetables & Herbs

The Ingredients

• One 3-4 lb chicken
• 2 carrots cut into large chunks
• 1 spine of celery cut into large chunks
• 4 potatoes cut into large chunks
• 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
• 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
• Olive oil
• Salt & Pepper

The Method

• Preheat oven to 450 F
• Cut carrots, celery & potatoes into large chunks
• Season a roasting pan with olive oil and add the vegetables
• Truss the chicken or just tuck wing tips under and tie the legs together
• Season chicken with olive oil, salt, pepper & fresh herbs
• Place on vegetables breast side up
• Roast for 20 minutes at 450
• Lower heat to 350F
• Roast for 20 minutes a lb.
• Chicken is done when the meat thermometer registers 165F when placed in the thickest part of the thigh – careful not to hit the bone
• Let chicken rest for 10 minutes, loosely tented to allow juices to redistribute

To Serve

• Serve with roasted vegetables and pan juices thinned out with a little chicken stock


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