Despite what you’ve read or choose to believe, there are lots of good ways to roast a chicken. This easy, slow-roasted method affords the bird a couple of hours to arrive at a shreddable tenderness reminiscent of rotisserie chicken. The chicken’s perch on the oven rack lets heat circulate all around, while a side dish of potatoes, positioned just below, makes magic with all the chicken juices.
Replace the potatoes with whole peeled shallots, trimmed leeks, scrubbed carrots, halved parsnips, 2-inch wedges of winter squash or scrubbed beets, halved firm apples (such as Pink Lady), or quartered cauliflower or Romanesco
Smoked paprika, Aleppo pepper, ground cumin, or crushed fennel seeds in place of either the paprikaor the oregano
- Season chicken inside and out and all around with paprika, oregano, and plenty of salt and pepper. Tie legs together, if desired. Place on a large plate or rimmed baking sheet and let sit to come to room temperature, about 1 hour. (Or refrigerate, uncovered, for up to 2 days.)
- Position two racks in bottom third of oven and preheat to 325°F.
- Place potatoes in a shallow ovenproof dish or rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Add a splash of water to the dish and place on the lower of the two racks. Rub chicken with olive oil and place onto the rack directly above the potatoes. Roast until chicken is very brown and falling-apart tender and a thermometer inserted into thickest part of the breast registers somewhere around 205°F (yes, that’s way above the usual 165°F target for chicken; it will be tender and on the verge of falling apart, but past peak juiciness), 2½ to 3 hours. Potatoes should be very tender and sitting in a generous amount of lovely chicken juices.
- Transfer chicken to a platter and let rest 20 to 30 minutes so that juices can redistribute and it’s not too hot to carve.
- While chicken rests, carefully pour off liquid from potatoes into a measuring glass. Use a wide shallow spoon to skim off some of the fat that rises to the surface (chill these drippings and use for another roasting project—they’re essentially seasoned schmaltz). Taste chicken gravy and season with salt and pepper. Carve chicken and serve with potatoes, gravy, and lemon wedges for squeezing over.
Reprinted with permission Where Cooking Begins by Carla Lalli Music, copyright © 2019. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Photography credit: Gentl and Hyers © 2019