When I think of a nostalgic home-cooked meal, I immediately think about roast chicken.
When I was a kid my favorite part was the salty, crispy, fatty skin (I would ask others if they were going to eat their skin and, if that failed, creepily stare them down until they handed it over). My mom cooks roasts chicken the Jewish way, that is covered in salt. The result is super flavorful and never dry.
One of the most important parts of this recipe is to not ignore the last instruction to cover the bird for at least 10 minutes to allow it to slump. I know the whole house smells like chickeny goodness and it's late and your hungry, but please wait for the chicken to slump, it's seriously worth it. Oh, and don't over cook the damn thing. This salmonella instilled fear really gets me down, over-cooked meat is sick and should be illegal.
Mom's Roast Chicken
1 whole chicken
freshly ground pepper
**I also suggest roasting potatoes cut-side down around the bird. Just toss them in some olive oil, salt and pepper and put them in a single layer on the baking sheet with the chicken. They cook in the chicken juices and get crispy and delicious on the bottom and fluffy and buttery on the inside. I usually throw in some whole garlic cloves to roast with the tators.
Preheat oven to 425
1. Wash chicken inside and out and dry thoroughly.
2. Make the spice blend by combining all the the spices listed above. You want about half the spice mixture to be salt and you should end up with about a 1/4 cup of spices. Then go ahead and rub them all over the bird. Don't think about how much salt you're using and really get in there and rub it in. Rub the inside of the cavity too. Go ahead and throw some fresh thyme in the cavity if you have it, okay?
3. Truss the bird and place on the sheet pan. Arrange potatoes around the chicken. Throw the chicken in the oven and turn the temp down to 400.
5. Roast for about an hour depending on the size of the bird. You know the chicken is done when the juices run clear.
6. Once you have take the chicken out of the oven cover it tightly with aluminum foil for at least 10 minutes to slump. It's too hot to cut up straight out of the oven, so just trust me and have patience.
I like to serve the chicken with roasted brussel sprouts, a fresh salad, and some challah. The result of this combination is in my opinion the perfect Shabbat dinner.
Don't forget to make stock after dinner.