Roasting a whole chicken is one of the easieast things you can do. I've seen alot of cooking shows and read as many cookbooks, and they'll all give you really elaborate recipes on how to acheive the best roasted chicken. Starting with a really hot oven and lowering the temp, slathering the bird with butter (even under the skin) These are good ways to cook a chiken, but not necissary. I will tell the easiest and best way right now and it will be the BEST you have ever had, I guarantee it!
Here's what you'll need
Seasoning is the easiest and yet the most important part of roasting the best chicken. Make sure you salt generously, more than you think and crank a generous amount of fresh pepper and then rub all over with olive oil and mustard (both dijon and grainy)...that's it! It's that easy, you don't need to do anything else.
I like to stuff the cavity or rub fresh chopped herbs like thyme, rosemary or sage, or fresh ground spices like cumin or coriander. You can add lemon and garlic, you can make your own jerk or tandoori seasonings, or you can slather the bird with a tasty BBQ sauce.
Now that the bird is seasoned and ready for the oven. Preheat to 350°, place the chicken in a baking dish that's big enough to hold it, making sure you have an couple inches all around the chicken. You can add vegetables all around it at this point, fennel, potatoes, carrots, onions...whatever you like. That's it! Toss it in the oven, don't cover it or add liquid. Set a timer for 1 hour and 15 minutes. At roughly half an hour or so into the cooking, I like to baste with the grainy mustard and olive oil mixture and slather the bird, and toss it back into the oven until it's ready.
How can you tell when it's ready? You can use a meat thermometer into the thick part of the thigh (it should read 185°), but I like to use my eyes. I find the chicken is done when the skin starts to seperate from the knuckle at the end of the drumstick. You don't want the bone to be completely exposed, but just starting to break off. The next step is probably THE most important...let the chicken rest. Cover loosely with foil and allow it to sit for a good 10 minutes in a warm spot in your kitchen. You need the time to plate your sides anyway, so take the time to this step, it'll make all the difference.
Now you're ready to carve. This is pretty easy..I'm working on a page for that and should be ready soon. Now you have no excuse to be intimidated by roasting a chicken. It is really easy and effortless.