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How to Prepare a Whole Chicken

September 10, 2012 Le Cordon Bleu Orlando 0 Comments

How to Prepare a Whole Chicken

Roast chicken is a traditional dinner meal in the US that is both tasty and nutritious. When combined with mixed vegetables and feel-good sides like mashed potatoes and corn-on-the-cob, there isn't much that can beat a feast like that. But since Momma and Granny aren't always going to be around, who will cook that delicious bird for you? That's right, you're going to have to learn to do it yourself. Here are some simple instructions for preparing your first whole chicken. It may not be the most glamorous side of the culinary arts world, but in order to devour that delicious bird someone has got to do it! In fact if you go to culinary school in Florida, or any other state for that matter, you will learn that when it comes to meat, preparation is key.

1) Preheat the oven
The first step to roasting a whole chicken is to get the oven ready for the cooking process. You will have to preheat the oven at anywhere between 375 and 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes before it is ready. Some people prefer to use the higher temperature initially so the skin crisps up and gets nice and golden-brown for extra taste and texture. If you want to skip this step, just cook the whole chicken at 375 for the entire duration.

2) Leave the skin on
While some people prefer not to eat the skin due to health reasons or because they are on a diet, you should leave the skin on throughout the whole cooking process because it seals the juices in and helps the meat to develop a nice caramelized crust. This is nature’s own addition to making this culinary art delicacy even better so if you can eat it, leave the skin on. If you do prefer to remove it, do so after the chicken has been fully cooked.

3) Take out the giblets and clean chicken
After preheating the oven, remove your chicken from the packaging and take out the guts. Most pre-packaged chickens will have the giblets wrapped up in a small bag within the main cavity of the body. You don't want to accidentally leave the little bag in there, so take it out and refrigerate it if you want to use it in the future. Check the chicken thoroughly to make sure that there aren't any organs still left in the chicken. If the neck has been left on, chop it off as well.

When the internals have all been cleared out, rinse the whole chicken under cold water for several minutes to remove excess fluid and some of the bacteria. Pat it down with some paper towel or a hand towel until it is dry. The extra moisture will make it more difficult to get that nice browned exterior.

4) Season the chicken
If you like getting your hands dirty, this is the fun part. First, season liberally with salt and pepper. Next, grab your favorite mix of spices and massage it into the chicken skin. Some of the most popular spices include thyme, rosemary, tarragon, and sage. Make sure that the whole chicken is covered in seasoning. You could decide to stuff garlic cloves into the meat too. Traditionally, the insides are either filled with vegetables, garlic cloves and onions, or lemon and orange slices.

5) Put chicken in the oven
Once everything is on the cooking tray, put it into the oven and cook that bird! A rule of thumb to go by when determining cooking time is 20 minutes per pound. A 5 pound chicken would take 1 hr 40 min on average.

6) Check for doneness
There are two easy ways to do this. First, you can stick a skewer into the chicken and see if the juices run clear when you pull it out, or you could put a thermometer into the thickest leg portion and see if it reads at least 165 degrees.

7) Let chicken rest and serve
Let the golden bird sit for 10 minutes before portioning. Enjoy!

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Orlando. Le Cordon Bleu College of
Culinary Arts in Orlando offers culinary arts and pâtisserie and baking training programs in Orlando, Florida. To
learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Orlando for more information.

Find disclosures on graduation rates, student financial obligations and more atwww.chefs.edu/disclosures.  
Le Cordon Bleu® and the Le Cordon Bleu logo are registered trademarks of Career Education Corporation. Le Cordon Bleu cannot guarantee employment or salary.
 Credits earned are unlikely to transfer.

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