Roast chicken has become the ultimate barometer of a chef’s skill, and no wonder. There’s something almost magical about the ability to transform a whole bird—one that is just daring you to overcook the breast—into a meal of crisp skin, juicy meat, golden sheen, and rich aromas. “ A good roast chicken is the best dinner of all,” says chef Alice Waters, and we couldn’t agree more.
Here are five recipes for great roast chicken, from the classic to the gussied up.
Roast Chicken by Julia Child In this classic recipe, the chicken is briefly browned at a high temperature, then the temperature is reduced and the chicken is turned and basted until it is done, ensuring perfectly crisp skin and moist meat every time.
Roast Chicken with Rosemary and Orange by Lidia Bastianich This recipe borrows from the flavors of the French classic canard à l’orange, but is in fact thoroughly Italian. The rosemary and orange are thrown in the pan at the last minute for maximum flavor.
Roasted Chicken with Olives, Lemon and Garlic by Susan Spicer The addition of rosemary, garlic, lemon, and olives perfumes the chicken and suggests a world of accompaniments: steamed artichokes, just-cooked angel hair pasta, fluffy couscous, or a salad of pungent greens with crusty bread for sopping up the juices.
Buttermilk Roast Chicken by Nigella Lawson Butterflying the bird, marinating the chicken pieces in buttermilk, and roasting at a high temperature until the pieces of chicken are nearly scorched are the keys to this delicious recipe.
Roasted Chicken with Corn Bread and Oyster Stuffing by Christopher Idone This classic stuffing is cooked inside the bird to draw out its richness. The oysters lend a rich saltiness to the buttery chicken.