Notes: Consider this basic recipe a blank palette on which to layer flavors--herbs under the skin and in the body cavity, other seasonings with the salt and pepper over the skin, or embellishments to the pan juices afterward.
Sunset FEBRUARY 2001
1. Remove giblets from chicken and reserve for other uses. Pull off and discard lumps of fat. Rinse bird well inside and out; pat dry.
2. Sprinkle chicken lightly with salt and pepper. If desired, fold wing tips under first joint. Set bird breast up on a V-shaped rack in an 11- by 17-inch pan.
3. Roast in a 425° regular or convection oven until a thermometer inserted through thickest part of breast to bone reaches 170°, or 180° through thickest part of thigh at joint, 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours. If drippings start to smoke, tilt pan, skim fat and discard; then add about 1/4 cup water.
4. Insert a carving fork into body cavity, piercing carcass; lift bird and tilt to drain juices into pan. Set chicken on a rimmed platter and let rest in a warm place about 15 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, skim and discard fat from pan. Stir juices to release browned bits and pour through a fine strainer, if desired, into a small bowl. Carve chicken and serve with juices. Add salt and pepper to taste.
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