In summary, my chief complaint about Chicken is this: on its own, it is just not a particularly flavorful meat. If you don't agree, compare Steak or Lamb, meats that require minimal enhancement to be interesting. Just a little Salt and Pepper and you're good to go. But not Chicken - Chicken needs a little more zhushing. But if there's a silver lining to Chicken's woeful blank slate status, it's that it does take flavor exceptionally well, and when seasoned nicely and prepared with care, it can really be something special.
|Roasted Chicken With Orange Tarragon Butter, Photo: NK|
Today's easy and surprisingly indulgent weeknight dinner is an excellent example of Chicken at its finest. Flavored with a bright, tangy Orange Juice and Zest combined herbaceous notes from the Tarragon ( a favorite herb of mine that has a twinge of Licorice in its scent) it's tasty but understated.
Roasted whole Chicken also incorporates my two other rules for great Chicken: if you prepare it bone-in, it will always be juicier. The second rule is to leave the skin on, because, hello, that's the good stuff. Even if you take it off prior to eating (why?!!) cooking Chicken with the skin on will make for a moister, more delcious bird.
Note: This dish has a longer prep time than our normal weeknight meals - it will take about 10 minutes to prepare and an hour and a half to cook, plus ten minutes to rest. You will, however, find that if you can start early enough, the recipe is practically effortless. Barely any prep time at all - maybe five minutes, tops! The Orange Tarragon Butter that makes this recipe so decadent could certainly be made ahead, providing you build in some time to bring it to room temperature.
Easy Orange Tarragon Roasted Chicken
Serves About 3
One 6 Pound Roasted Chicken, giblets removed and brought to room temperature
|Orange Tarragon Butter, Photo; NK|
3 Tablespoons Salted Butter, room temperature
1 small Yellow or White Onion, halved
1 large Navel Orange, Zested and halved
1 Tablespoon Minced Fresh Tarragon plus a few sprigs for garnish
Preheat the oven to 425 with the rack in the middle.
Bring Chicken to room temperature by letting it sit out about a half an hour.
Stuff the Chicken's cavity with the two Onion Halves and the other unjuiced half of the Orange. Place the bird in a roasting pan.
Season the bird liberally with Kosher Salt and Black Pepper. Next, cut a hole into the skin just above the neck, so that you create a pocket between the skin and bird. Carefully pull the skin up from the body as you stuff it with some of the Orange Tarragon Butter, smooshing it around as best you can.
Finish by coating the outside of the bird with all the remaining Flavored butter.
Place in the oven on the middle rack and roast for about an hour and 20 to an hour and a half, basting several times with the pan juices. Place the Chicken on a platter and pour the pan juices over it. Serve with orange slices (from the second half of the Orange) and sprigs of fresh Tarragon.