Until relatively recently, I thought of roast chicken as nothing more than one great dinner. Any leftovers that resulted from the bird were just, well, leftovers—something I would try, often unsuccessfully, to use up in subsequent meals. I would like to be able to say that all this changed because something dramatic happened— like the birth of a child or a breakthrough in chicken technology. But the truth is that an editor called me up and asked me to write a book on how to roast chicken and cook with the leftovers. Now, a couple of years and many, many roast birds later, I’ve become a preacher of the leftover chicken gospel. All that roasting has convinced me that chicken on the second go-round is a very convenient and versatile addition to all sorts of weeknight dinners, from Caesar salad and tacos to quick stir-fries and pastas. With a roast chicken in the fridge, you have a head start on getting a delicious meal on the table fast.
Here’s how it works —
Roast two chickens when you have a little time. Serve one of them that night for dinner, and use the second one (plus any remaining meat from the first one) in lively dishes in the following few days. Just remember to plan your leftover meals ahead so that when you’re at the market, you can pick up the ingredients you’ll need.
Tips for roasting a bird with moist meat & crisp skin
A few techniques distinguish my roast chicken method from others you may have tried.
Salt the chicken ahead. Salting seasons the bird, of course, but if you can do it a day, or even a few hours, ahead, you’ll get more flavorful meat and crisper skin. You can also flavor the salt with herbs and zest.
Use a rack. A V-shaped roasting rack cradles the chicken and allows its juices to drip away, leaving even the bottom skin crisp.
Start breast side up and flip halfway through. Starting with the breast up ensures brown, crispy skin. Turning the bird over keeps the breast moist while the slower-cooking legs finish roasting.