Really easy, really delicious. My second-favorite way to roast a chicken (I promise to post my all-time favorite the next time I make it.)
No need for a roasting pan or rack-- all you need is a really big, heavy duty frying pan. The chicken is roasted at high heat in the oven in a hot frying pan, which makes a very crispy skin and helps the thighs to cook faster so they get done before the breast dries out. The garlic is optional, but you should definitely use it-- it makes a side of garlic roasted in chicken fat, which is sublime on its own or mashed into potatoes. (This method taken, as usual, from How to Cook Everything.)
1 whole chicken (3-5 lbs or so)
Olive oil or butter
Garlic cloves, peeled (optional, but highly recommended)
Whatever herbs you have hiding in the back of your refrigerator, especially sage, tarragon, parsley, rosemary, thyme etc. (optional), snipped or chopped
1. Put frying pan in oven. Pre-heat oven to 450.
2. Prepare chicken by rinsing inside and out under cold running water (don't forget to remove the giblets!). Pat dry with paper towels, and heavily salt and pepper the body cavity and outside of the chicken. Rub the skin with melted butter or olive oil; if you're using herbs, generously sprinkle the outside of the chicken with them.
3. By the time you're done preparing the chicken, the oven should be hot. Remove the frying pan (it will be very hot-- that's the whole point-- use oven mitts!) and place the chicken in it, breast side up. It will make a delicious sizzling sound. Put a meat thermometer into the meat of the thigh. If you're using garlic cloves, sprinkle them around the chicken.
4. Roast for 40-50 minutes, until the meat thermometer reads 160.
5. Remove chicken to cutting board or platter; let it rest for 10 minutes. Pour pan juices into a glass measuring cup (if your kitchen is really well stocked, a gravy separator) and pour or spoon off some of the fat. If using fresh herbs, mix some more into the sauce. Carve chicken; pour sauce over chicken and whatever sides you're serving.
Serve with any sort of potatoes or rice and some sort of vegetable.