In reading Anthony Bourdain's follow-up to Kitchen Confidential (the book that made him), Medium Raw, there is a section where he basically vents on the lack of food and cooking education. Bourdain makes good points regarding the fact that everyone needs to eat and everyone should have at least some basic cooking skills.

"We know, for instance, that there is a direct, inverse relationship between frequency of family meals and social problems. Bluntly stated, members of families who eat together regularly are statistically less likely to stick up liquor stores, blow up meth labs, give birth to crack babies, commit suicide, or make donkey porn. If Little Timmy had just had more meatloaf, he might not have grown up to fill chest freezers with Cub Scout parts."

"But I do think the idea that basic cooking skills are a virtue, that the ability to feed yourself and a few others with proficiency should be taught to every young man and woman as a fundamental skill, should become as vital to growing up as learning to wipe one’s own ass, cross the street by oneself, or be trusted with money.”
― Anthony Bourdain, Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook

He goes on to list things he feels everyone should know how to do. Basic knife skills, cooking vegetables to a desired doneness, omelets, and my favorite, "Everyone should be able to roast a chicken. And they should be able to do it well." No doubt the rotisserie chicken at your local supermarket is easy and delicious, but they are also injected with a ton of salt and who knows what else. Besides, for about the same cost as of one of those, you can roast two chickens yourself.

Better than injecting the chicken, brining is the way to go. It makes the chicken deliciously seasoned throughout and so tender & juicy. I like to fill the cavity with herbs while it's roasting. The aromas permeate the meat and makes the whole house smell awesome. If you're feeling crazy, you can also quarter a lemon and stuff that in the cavity, too. Basting is also key in adding flavor and getting a nice crispy, golden brown skin. An who doesn't like that?

You can do so much with a roasted chicken. Put it in salads, tacos, sandwiches, and let's not forget, tortilla soup. Speaking of soup, don't get rid of the carcass. Bones from a roasted chicken make the best chicken stock. So skip the store-bought rotisserie chicken and roast your own. You'll feel a much better sense of accomplishment, not to mention, Anthony Bourdain's approval.

Classic Roasted Chicken

  • Prep Time: 30m
  • Cook Time: 1h 30m
  • Total Time: 2h
  • Serves: 4

What's in it:

  • Bunch of fresh thyme
  • Bunch of fresh rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 c kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. whole peppercorns
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 large yellow onions, thickly sliced.
  • Butter or olive oil for basting
  • 1 or 2 whole chickens

How to make it:

  1. For the brine, bring 2 qts. water to a boil. Add salt and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and add bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns and herbs. Let cool completely.
  2. Rinse chicken(s), making sure to remove the giblets and remove excess fat. Put the chicken in a pot or container large enough for the birds and brine. Pour the brine over the chickens and add enough water to cover them completely. Refrigerate and let sit for 24-48 hours. Rotate the chickens once during that period.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Remove the herbs and garlic from the brine and stuff into the cavity. Brush outside with butter or olive oil. Put onions in the bottom of a roasting pan and place the chickens on top.
  4. Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. For a nice crispy skin, baste the chicken with butter every 15 min. After 45 min., lower the oven to 350 degrees and baste chickens in their own juices every 10-15 min. until done. Pull from the oven and let the chicken rest covered for 15 min.