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Preheat the oven to 425°F. Trim off any excess fat from neck and tail end of chicken. Pat very dry with paper towels, and season all over with salt and pepper. Place chicken, breast side up, on a rack in a small roasting pan or a 9x13-inch baking dish. Tuck wings back and behind bird to hold them in place. Roast, basting once or twice with pan juices, until skin is deep golden brown and juices run clear, about 1 1/2 hours. An instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh should read 165°F. Let chicken rest for 15 minutes and then carve.
•If you don’t have a rack, simply set the chicken directly in the pan. The skin may stick a bit, but it won’t hurt the flavor. Better yet, arrange roughly chopped vegetables in the bottom of the pan to serve as a “rack.” Potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onions, cauliflower, bell peppers, winter squashes, turnips and/or rutabagas, tossed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, all work well.
•While roasting, check the chicken two or three times to be sure it’s browning evenly. If any part threatens to burn, tent it with a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil.
• Trussing the chicken (i.e., tying its legs together to help the chicken hold its shape while roasting) is fine to do but not altogether necessary.
•To add fragrant flavor, stuff the cavity with a halved lemon or orange and a handful of fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme and oregano. When basting the chicken during cooking, sprinkle with chopped herbs, too.
• During the last 30 minutes of cooking, brush the chicken with barbecue sauce, balsamic vinaigrette or Dijon mustard.