poor scientist. will blog 4 food.

the culinary adventures of a self-described foodie

Sunday Night Dinners: My First Roast Chicken


When I came across this roast chicken recipe on Chez Pim, I was overwhelmed by the desire to make it. No, I’ve never roasted a chicken, and yes, I was slightly intimidated. But really, how hard could it be? Armed with a meat thermometer and a free range chicken in tow, I set out to make my very first roast chicken.

Stuffed with garlic and lemon, rubbed with butter, and ready to go into the oven!

Since roasting a whole animal seemed like a very domestic thing to do, I decided to dress the part too. I donned a 1950’s style shirt dress that I got from my sister. (If only I had a petticoat to wear under the skirt!) My guests, A, the talented and fashionable blogger at fitforafemme, her wife M, and JA all obliged my request to dress 1950’s style. It was really fun!

To start, JA concocted a delicious cocktail: champagne (Prosecco, actually), gin, and cran-apple juice, garnished with a wedge of lime. Then we moved on to the persimmon, curly endive, and radicchio salad from the Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook. Even though the salad was beautiful and the first few bites were quite good, it quickly gained a strange texture on my teeth and tongue. It was like something weird was growing on my teeth and I wanted to lick it off. So weird! I couldn’t tell if it was due to the different variety of persimmon I used — the recipe calls for fuyu persimmons, but Berkeley Bowl was only selling hachiya persimmons at the time. My other guess was the radicchio. In any case, I’m not tempted to try this experiment again.

So pretty yet so sad.

The roast chicken turned out quite good, though the winter veggies roasting underneath didn’t fare as well. Due to the low cooking temperature, the chicken was in the oven for a long time, resulting in singed vegetables. Luckily for us, a few veggies escaped scalding — the pieces right underneath the bird ended up caramelized and tasty. As for the recipe, I followed it mostly, except that I cut back on the amount of butter (about 1/4-1/2 stick). It resulted in super flavorful meat — great for sandwiches! But crispy skin? As noted on the recipe, not so much.

Chicken basting, action shot!

Out of the oven, almost done. Looking good!

The carved chicken, with a side of burnt veggies.

To end things on a sweet note, A&M brought over a box of sumptuous cookies from Anthony’s in SF. We had tea and coffee and laughed as A tried to tempt my scaredy cat Sasha from his hiding place under the couch. What a great evening!

What's in that box? Only the best cookies ever.

Author: Jen

Howdy! My name is Jen and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I like to eat, run, and blog, but not usually at the same time.

10 thoughts on “Sunday Night Dinners: My First Roast Chicken

  1. Awesome! I’m glad it went well! The chicken looks wonderful.

  2. Looks delicious! I’m very tempted to roast my own chicken this weekend. I’ll be sure to put the roasting potatoes/veggies in their own dish that can be removed if taking too long!

    • Oh, you totally should! I’ve heard that it helps if you wrap the veggies in foil or better yet, if you have a rack and put them underneath the bird so you can remove them whenever you want.

  3. Yum!! Hot oven things!! Looks great.

    hachiya persimmons are tricky things — they have to be mushy to be ripe… like avocados. otherwise they have a weird bitter furriness that is very unpleasant as i guess you’ve found. ripe it’s different from the crunchy nutmeg-y fuyu — it’s soft, very sweet, .. almost slimy.

  4. Yeah, I have found hachiya persimmons to have a super tannic skin – I’ve only tried them once but that was enough for me. Fuyu only.

  5. It was a wonderful evening. Why haven’t we done it again? We ought to and soon. And color coordinate our dresses on purpose this time!

  6. Digging into the past of this delightful bloggamajiggery. I wish I would have noticed this post earlier though for the crispy skin secret (well, one of hundreds you can read, but one confirmed by empirical evidence):

    Rather than brining or roasting an unsalted bird, rub a spice mixture (whatever you like) that’s roughly 50% spices 50% salt under the skin. It extracts moisture from the subcutaneous fat, fills it with seasoning, and then lets it reabsorb into the meat. At least, that’s what I tell myself it does. Regardless, the skin dried out and crisps brown in the oven and eliminates the need for basting and such. So, lazy roasting ahoy!

    • Hey, thanks for the tip! Yeah, so the original recipe came with a huge disclaimer, like, “Don’t make this if you want crispy skin!!!” I myself could take it or leave it, as I’d rather have flavorful and succulent meat than crispy skin if given the choice. But I’ll definitely try the rub next time!

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