Adjust oven rack to lowest position. Heat oven to 450° F.
Place a rack in a large ovenproof skillet or small roasting pan.
Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry. Place in pan. Tuck the wings beneath the chicken, as if it were placing its arms behind its head. Rub the oil over the skin. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. Toss the remaining salt into the cavity. Roast for 20 minutes. Add 1 cup water and roast until the chicken is cooked through and the thigh meat registers 180° F on a meat thermometer, about 40 minutes more.
Use a spatula to loosen the chicken. With a wad of paper towels in each hand, transfer it to a cutting board. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. If making a pan sauce, reserve the drippings.
This is my go-to roast chicken recipe, for it's simplicity and excellent taste. It's just really good chicken, nothing more, nothing less. I add carrots, onions and celery to a stainless skillet along with the broth and get fool-proof chicken gravy as good as any I've ever tasted. For the gravy, I remove the spent veggies and drain off the liquid. Then I deglaze the skillet with a little more broth or whatever white wine I'm serving, scraping up all the gorgeous fond. I add a little butter and flour to make a roux, then after separating the fat, I pour the pan juices back into the skillet to make my gravy. It's super easy and always flavorful and smooth. The bird itself quite lovely and presents beautifully, but I admit, I'm all about the perfect gravy.
Moist and tender. Chicken browns beautifully at the higher temperature. I added 6 crushed garlic cloves, a lemon cut in quarters and fresh rosemary to the cavity before tying the legs. Makes the house smell wonderful. No gravy needed.
The chicken did look beautiful after an hour in the oven, but it wasn't done inside that quickly. Maybe my chicken was bigger than the recipe called for. I set off the smoke alarm when I poured the water in the pan and stunk up the house. But when it was all done it was good.
I never thought I could do better than my slow-roast chicken - until I discovered this method. Tho I usually add fresh herbs to the cavity and under the skin, these basics are exactly what I do now, resulting in a crisp skin and succulent, moist white meat, and it is fast!
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