My mother makes the best roast chicken. To me, roast chicken means home, wherever I am. She taught me to make this when she was sick in bed with my chicken pox, when I was about thirteen. My mom lives 8,000 miles away, and I think of her every time I eat or make this chicken, which is often. The herbs can obviously be varied, according to the season. The result is crispy skin, falling-apart tender meat, with delicious, sticky potatoes. No oil or butter is added. The high temperature is important. —Marie Viljoen
What You'll Need
Shallot, peeled and split
Garlic cloves, peeled
Slice of lemon
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 450'F.
Place shallot, herbs, lemon and some salt and fresh black pepper in cavity of chicken.
Slice potatoes into rounds, not too thin or thick and lay in the bottom of a cast iron skillet.
Place chicken on top of potatoes.
Tuck garlic cloves under chicken.
Squeeze the lemon's juice over the chicken, and season it liberally with salt and pepper.
Pour the water into the pan. This helps turn the potatoes creamy and forms a wonderful pan juice.
Put into the hot oven and roast for about an hour and twenty minutes. Turn the heat down to 425 after 45 minutes. No basting is called for: the skin will be perfectly brown and crisp.