A roasted chicken has got to be one of the easiest things in the world to make, and one of the most delicious to eat. Barbara Kafka included seven different recipes for roast chicken in her cookbook, Roasting -A Simple Art, and wrote, "When in doubt, roast a chicken. When hurried, roast a chicken. Seeking simple pleasure? Roast a chicken." And the immortal Laurie Colwin in her essay 'Roast Chicken', begins by stating, "There is nothing like roast chicken...It will not let you down." There are as many ways to roast a chicken as there are cooks. No matter how it's done: butter-rubbed, or not; with 40 cloves of garlic, lemon, rosemary, or paprika for seasoning, or absolutely nothing added at all; finished with one of many possible glazes, or crispy naked golden skin; basted during cooking, or not; low-heat-long-roast or high-heat-quick-roast method -no matter how a chicken is roasted, it will be good. Of course, my mom's is the best. Even though I have watched her a hundred times, and then done exactly what she does, mom's roasted chicken always tastes better than anyone else's.
This is not my mom's roast chicken, and nothing at all like her method -except it involves a chicken and an oven- but this is absolutely fool-proof, AND it lets me knit while dinner cooks itself! My clay roasting pot, called a schlemmertopf, was given to me years ago by a friend, who had received 3 of various sizes as wedding gifts. I often see unused ones in thrift stores, and I highly recommend picking one up if you don't already own one. I have a little cookbook, The Best of Clay Pot Cooking, which has many recipes for using this pot, but I usually just make a simple roast chicken with mine.
Clay Roasted Chicken
Soak the clay lid in warm water for 10-20 minutes.
Rub chicken all over with 1 T. softened butter, place in clay pot (with or without some vegetables underneath), sprinkle with Lawry's Seasoned Salt, or seasoning of choice. Add 1 c. chicken broth.
Place in a COLD oven, turn heat to 450 degrees, and cook for 1 hour 15 minutes (or so), then rest chicken 20 minutes before carving. If I make a salad, and then toss in some baking potatoes when the clay pot goes into the oven, I'm free to knit, spin or whatever, until dinner's done. What could be better?