I know, it's a big claim telling you to toss all of your other roast chicken recipes, but I don't think you'll be disappointed after the first bite. Did I also mention that it makes for perfect roast chicken in only 60 minutes? Yep. There are no bells and whistles here—nor will you find fancy herbs. It's all about technique, from a higher-than-usual roasting temperature, starting off with a dry roast (not adding any fat or liquid to the pan at first), to properly salting the bird before popping it in the oven. Unless you have a killer hood vent, you'll want to open the windows for the dry roasting—trust me, the little of bit smoke is well-worth it! And yes, it sounds fussy to baste every 10 to 15 minutes, but super crispy skin is the reward. What happens next is a sheer delight, simple only in its method, and exceptional in taste. If you manage to have leftovers (you might want to roast 2 chickens), the extras can always go into tacos, chili, or homemade chicken croquettes. —Jennifer Perillo
Test Kitchen Notes
This roast chicken recipe is simple and delicious. The chicken tastes like chicken with no fancy ingredients needed to make it fragrant. The result is a bird super tender on the inside with slightly crispy skin on the outside. The chicken made for a great main dish (accompanied by garam marsala rice) the first day and its leftover a nice addition salad addition the next day.
I would be more precise about the salt amount needed (I used a pinch and it was fine). I will definitively make this recipe again. It's the best I've tested so far. —Pili Gómez
3 1/2 pound whole chicken
Coarse salt (kosher salt or Maldon salt flakes are what I use)
Place the chicken in a roasting pan or cast iron skillet (do not use a glass pan, or it'll crack when you add the liquid), breast-side up. Season generously with salt, and pepper. Cook for 20 minutes, then add the wine, butter, plus a 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of the pan.
Continue roasting for 40 to 50 minutes more, basting the chicken with the sauce in the pan every 10 to 15 minutes (and adding more water, as needed), until the chicken's juices run clear and an instant read thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 185ºF.
Remove the chicken from the oven and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before carving.
Jennifer Perillo is the Consulting Food Editor at Working Mother magazine, and a regular a contributor to Relish Magazine and FoodNetwork.com. She shares stories about food, family and life at her blog In Jennie's Kitchen and in her debut cookbook, Homemade with Love: Simple Scratch Cooking from In Jennie's Kitchen (Running Press 2013).