By now, I'm sure you heard about the way Prince Harry proposed to his now-fiancé, American actress Meghan Markle, in November 2017. If not, though, here's a quick recap: According to the couple in a BBC interview following their engagement announcement, they were having a super chill, low-key evening at their quaint little cottage (which is at Kensington Palace, so not that quaint) roasting chicken (at Kensington Palace) when he got down on one fancy, royal knee (at Kensington freaking Palace). Yes: He proposed while they were roasting chicken. Roast chicken, everyone. The less shiny cousin of Thanksgiving turkey. Humble poultry. Game changer! Also, a fairly easy thing to make, if you have the right ingredients and recipe. Take, for instance, this roast half chicken recipe for one.
First things first: A good-quality chicken is a good-tasting chicken. Scope your local butcher for a pasture-raised bird if you can — but, if all else fails, opt for an air-chilled option. As for seasoning, salt is the workhorse here! The longer you let your salted bird hang out, the more time the salt has to work its magic into the chicken to season it a bit deeper and make it more flavorful.
Additionally, this recipe is just a starting base. Once you've mastered it, you can absolutely further customize it to your liking. For instance, I added a sprig of rosemary on top for just a hint of flavor — but you can implement a number of easy dry rubs and spices to better align with the rest of your meal or your taste preferences. Try cumin and red pepper flakes for a kick or curry and garlic powder for some sweet richness.
Once cooked, the chicken will develop a lovely warm, golden color. And while you’ll want to start picking at all its beauty when it's fresh out the oven, it’s important to let the chicken rest for at least 20 minutes. Doing so allows the flavorful juices to stay sealed inside as the chicken cools. Cutting it up and serving immediately is like opening all the windows of your warm apartment and letting warm air seep out into the street. A travesty, really. Just wait a bit, get your table set, and then enjoy this fancy, game changing, roast chicken for one.
Adapted from: Bon Appétit
Prep Time: 2 hours
Yields: 1 half chicken
- 2-2.5 pound half chicken
- Kosher salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Black pepper
1. Pat half-chicken dry with paper towels, and season generously with kosher salt all over. Let it sit for at least one hour to allow the salt to work its magic into the meat. It can rest up to a day uncovered while you chill it. More time equals more flavor.
2. Place a rack in upper third of oven and set a large cast-iron skillet or an enameled cast-iron baking dish on the rack.
3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
1. Once the oven reaches 425 degrees, pat the chicken dry with paper towels again and lightly coat it with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and any additional spices you'd like to add.
2. Drizzle a little more oil into the hot pan (this prevents any sticking). Place chicken in the center of the skillet.
3. Roast the chicken for about 35 minutes, checking it around 28-30 minutes. Chicken should have a golden crust; instant kitchen thermometer should read 165 degrees.
4. Let the chicken rest for at least 20 minutes — up to 45 minutes — in the skillet before serving.
And there you have it! A roast chicken all for yourself.