So everyone has a favorite roast chicken recipe. In fact, a quick google search for those four words yields more than 5 million results. “Perfect roast chicken recipe” is another popular search combo. Emeril’s got one. Ina Garten’s got one. Apparently, Glamour’s got one guaranteed to get you hitched (although that’s asking a bit too much of your chicken, if you ask me). Everyone is well versed on the favorite chicken recipes associated with Jamie Oliver (lots of milk) and Julia Child. Some people even collect roast chicken recipes. There’s probably a lot of reasons behind the ubiquitousness of chicken roasting instructions across the internets. Obviously, it’s delicious, but when it comes out too dry or rubbery, it can be less delicious. And while chicken recipes themselves have has been Google darlings for some time now, roast chicken is more of a time investment than a couple of chicken breasts slathered in whatever sauce. And without further fanfare, I give you my favorite roast chicken recipe. This one comes from Kitchen Counter Cooking School, by Kathleen Flinn. I must have read this book at least three times through, because it’s that interesting. (Which, coincidentally, is probably at least eight times less than I’ve used the roast chicken recipe, both of which I think are hallmarks of a successful cookbook.) Flinn, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, takes on the challenge of using what she’s learned about preparing fine food to guide aspiring home cooks, many of whom default to pre-packaged and frozen dinners, through their kitchens. By the end of the book, even the students who seem the most intimidating by the notion of preparing a meal from scratch are whipping up homemade gnocchi. But the chicken. I often think that the best recipes out there are not so much instructions as they are formulas that invite you to inject your own improvisation and personality. That’s my favorite part of this recipe. It’s a super solid formula that’s difficult to screw up and easy to adapt with whatever ingredients you’re feeling that day or happen to have on hand. A few weeks ago I made this with some salsa verde and grass-fed butter, and it turned out beautifully. Your Basic Roasted Chicken Preheat the oven to 425 F. Mix up some flavorings. Remove the giblets from inside the chicken cavity. Gently ease your fingers under the chicken’s skin to separate it form the bird, creating a cavity across the top of the breast and around the legs. Shove your flavoring under the skin. Smear a bit over the top and generously season the skin with coarse salt and ground pepper. (I also like to drizzle a little briny something over the top when I do this, like worcestershire sauce or soy sauce, depending on what goes with your under-the-skin goodies.) If you want to, tie the legs together with some string, this will help the bird keep its shape and cook evenly. (I never have string.) The larger the bird, the longer it will take to roast. Depending on your oven and your bird, a standard 3-pound chicken will take about an hour; allow 10 minutes for each additional half pound. After half an hour, baste it by using a spoon, pastry brush, or bulb-style baster to collect the juices form the pan to moisten the skin. If desired, turn the chicken over for the last 20 minutes of cooking. Baste again. (Do this. The all-over golden crispy color rocks.) See if it’s done. The best method is to insert an instant read thermometer into the thigh meat and again into the breast, avoiding bones. It should read close to 180 F, but double check by pulling the thigh away. If the juices that ooze out are clear, it’s done. If they are pink, baste the chicken again and put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Repeat as needed. Let your chicken rest for a few minutes before serving.