Whether you choose to bake chicken pieces or a complete bird, experts say cooking it with the skin still intact is the best way. The reason for this is that the skin stops the meat from drying out – keeping it moist and therefore juicy. The first step is to heat the oven to around 350 degrees. This may vary, depending on the baking method.
Here’s how to prepare the chicken in more detail:
If the bird is frozen, remove it from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator for a day or two to allow it to thaw in the coldness of the fridge – placing it in ice water for a day is also an option. If you try to “force” thaw it, you run the risk of not having the bird thawed completely before baking – natural thawing is recommended.
The next step is to remove the giblets and wash the chicken completely, inside and out (presumably its internal organs have been removed.). I’ve read that rubbing the bird down with salty hands helps clean it. Once washed, dry it with paper towels and sprinkle black pepper and salt all over the entire bird and rub it into the skin.
Placing the chicken into a roasting pan (make sure there is plenty of room, the bird will “sweat” during the baking process) and cover it with olive oil or some other marinade. The chicken is now ready to be placed in the oven. In the roasting pan, you may opt to add vegetables – namely potatoes, and roast them together with the chicken. You can also add rice and vegetables like tomatoes and pepper.
Here’s how to bake the chicken in the oven:
Place the chicken into the pre-heated oven and allow it to bake for up to two hours. Around 90 minutes after placing it in the oven, check to see if the skin is golden brown. If the skin is indeed a golden brown color, place a thermometer into the breast and check the reading. If the breast reads 170 and other thicker parts read 180, then you can be sure your chicken is baked completely. It may be necessary for you to cut part of the chicken to visually check that it is cooked – the meat should be white. You will also notice that the golden colored skin is brittle – the taste of baked brittle chicken skin is superb. If you’re satisfied that the chicken is now baked, remove it from the oven. It is recommended that the chicken be left for ten minutes prior to carving. This is presumably to allow the fats to drain from the bird.
Now that you’ve got the answer to “How do you bake a chicken?”, it’s time to eat the meal. Your beautiful golden brown chicken and an array of different roasted vegetables is now ready to be served to your guests. You place the entire chicken and vegetables in the center of the dining table; while loud plaudits of a very impressed group of people honor the masterpiece you have cooked. Carve the bird and place pieces of succulent chicken on each person’s plate. Add vegetables along with sauces and dinner is served. Hearty Appetite!
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