Hello after a long break! Here we are in the middle of winter in NYC. Thankfully next week we are headed out of town to a warm destination and I cannot wait.
The winter blahs are upon us, for sure. It’s been mostly cold, wet and grey in the city, without much snow. Boo.
I always crave hearty, warm dishes and nothing says comfort like a roast chicken.
The key here is to find the best quality chicken you can. We get ours from our favorite butcher, and always try and get pastured chickens. It’s important from a few different standpoints. It’s better tasting. I can’t tell you how many guests we have had for dinner that claim it’s the best chicken ever. But starting with a good quality bird makes all the difference.
Pastured chickens are better for the earth, as the chickens are an integral part of a healthy regenerative farm. Pastured chickens eat and roam and forage on the pastures, which also contributes to those beautiful bright orange egg yolks they produce. Good healthy manure = good healthy bugs = good healthy chickens. Plus, supporting local farmers takes money away from Big Ag chicken producers. Put your money toward farmers, not companies!
Pastured chicken is also better nutritionally. Pastured chicken has less saturated fat and overall fat than conventional chickens, more Vitamin A and a higher amount of Omega-3 fatty acids. Conventional chicken can have a much higher amount of Omega 6 fatty acids, which in excess leads to inflammation and poor health outcomes. (All those processed foods and processed vegetable oils? Also very high in Omega 6.)
The chicken skin has lots of healthy Vitamin A (so does the liver!), so make sure to EAT THE SKIN. Both of these recipes produce delicious skin.
We’ve been watching the Titan Games with the Rock. My kids love watching the amazing competitors and then looking at me and Jeff and telling us we are in horrible shape and need to work out more. I love parenting!
I had two lovely pastured chickens the other day and decided to do my own battle. Instant Pot Chicken vs. Oven Roasted Chicken. Prepared exactly the same, which chicken would come out juicier and tastier? Read on to find out!
The basic roast chicken recipe I follow most often is this one because it’s so simple and if you have a good bird you don’t need a long of extra distractions.
I decided to make a spice rub this time. You can use this one or make up your own! Be creative!
Greek: garlic, oregano, lemon zest.
Tex Mex: chipotle, chili, cumin, coriander.
Indian: curry powder, cumin, coriander.
Italian: italian seasoning, garlic, lemon.
Best Roast Chicken (Oven or Instant Pot)
Yield 6 servings
The key to the roast chicken here is to let it come to room temperature before cooking and make sure it's super dry. I let sit out for a couple hours and then wrap it in paper towels. This is what produces incredibly crispy skin. And do not salt the bird until just before you put it in the oven. (This doesn't matter as much when it comes to the Instant Pot.)
I have also written about this before, but most chicken recipes say the bird should be 165 when it comes out but in my STRONG opinion, this is a disaster. Take it out when it's 150 and let it rest for 15 minutes.
- 1 3-4 lb roasting chicken (pastured and organic if possible)
- 1 T or more flaky sea salt
- fresh black pepper
- 1 T avocado oil (for Instant Pot version)
- 1/2 cup chicken broth (for Instant Pot version)
For the rub
- 1 T brown sugar
- 1 T smoked paprika
- 1/2 T sweet paprika
- 1 T chili powder
- 1/2 T garlic powder
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
Chicken should be room temp or have been out of the fridge for 2+ hours.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put oven rack in the lower position.
- Rinse chicken, wrap chicken in paper towels and dry thoroughly inside and out.
- Make spice blend by combining paprikas, chili powder, garlic powder in a small bowl.
- Put cut lemon halves inside chicken cavity with thyme sprigs.
- Rub spice blend all over chicken.
FOR ROAST CHICKEN
- Put chicken on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Sprinkle generously with salt, like a nice rain of salt. Grind fresh pepper on the chicken and immediately throw that chicken in the hot oven!
- Cook for 30-40 mins until an instant thermometer reads 150 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh.
- Set chicken aside for 15 minutes before carving. Serve with melted ghee/butter and good dijon mustard (a la Thomas Keller).
FOR INSTANT POT
- Turn IP on to Saute mode. Add avocado oil to the pot.
- Generously salt and pepper chicken.
- Add whole chicken, skin side down, to the Instant Pot. Cook for 5 minutes. Using large tongs or a wooden spoon, turn chicken breast-side up. Add chicken stock.
- Turn instant pot to HIGH PRESSURE mode, close and lock lid. Cook for 25 minutes.
- Let depressurize naturally for 8 minutes and then manually vent.
- Remove chicken and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Remove juices from pot and serve with chicken.
Cuisine Paleo, Healthy
SO… now for the winner! Well it’s hard, but we both felt that the original roast chicken recipe won. It had a firmer bite, with delicious crispy skin and the flavor of the actual chicken really came through. It does require a somewhat longer cook time, but not by much.
The Instant Pot recipe was more like a rotisserie chicken, still delicious and comforting, especially with the pan juices. This would make a great chicken soup, like this AIP version. Or, if you need shredded chicken for tacos, enchiladas, chicken salad or a casserole, this is a go-to recipe. It’s semi-quick for a weeknight dinner if you have an hour.
So there you have it! The Titan Games of Chicken. Enjoy and happy cooking!