6 recipes for great roast chicken

You can never have too many easy dinner recipes for chicken. It’s a versatile bird that lends itself to so many flavorings. One of the most simple preparations you can have in your recipe arsenal is a recipe for roast chicken. Truss the bird up (or cut the backbone out and lay it flat), add your flavorings, tuck it away in the oven for an hour or two, and serve. It’s an easy dinner idea, whether you’re planning a simple meal for the family, or something a little more extravagant for company. Here are six of our favorite recipes.

Peruvian-style roast chicken with spicy jalapeño sauce

Peruvian-style roast chicken with jalapeno sauce.
(Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

If you haven’t yet checked out J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s new cookbook, “The Food Lab,” his Peruvian-style roast chicken might just make you order a copy. The simple flavorings include notes of cumin, paprika, garlic and a nice vinegar tang, but you’ll also want to make the spicy jalapeno sauce to serve alongside the chicken. Oh, and make the super-crisp roasted potatoes. These were some of the most downloaded recipes in our recipe database last year.

Roast whole chicken with cauliflower

Recipe: Roast whole chicken with cauliflower
(Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times)

Take your inspiration from the farmers market for this meal, roasting the chicken with baby orange cauliflower, new rainbow carrots and a handful of toasted hazelnuts. As Food editor Amy Scattergood notes, “The earthy notes of the chicken, the caramelized carrots and the crunchy hazelnuts bring out the subtle flavor of the cauliflower.”

Casa Cordoba’s Pollo de aceitunas (olive chicken)

If you’re a fan of olives and garlic, this is a meal for you. A whole chicken is brined in a flavorful marinade, then spatchcocked, stuffed with a bold filling of olives and roasted garlic, and slowly cooked over low heat to keep the meat moist and tender. The chicken is garnished with garlic oil and tender slices of Serrano ham in the last few minutes of cooking. It makes quite a presentation when it’s served, and is a perfect dish when hosting guests.

Roast chicken with preserved lemon

Recipe: Roast chicken with preserved lemon.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Cookbook legend Paula Wolfert has called preserved lemons “one of the indispensable ingredients of Moroccan cooking, used in fragrant lamb and vegetable tagines, recipes for chicken with lemons and olives, and salads.” Classic preserved lemons can take up to a month or more to prepare, but packaged preserved lemons are increasingly showing up in more specialty and gourmet markets. Lucky for you. Because you’ll love the way their unique flavor stands out in this dish, adapted from “Casa Moro” by Sam and Sam Clark.

Brick chicken

Recipe: Brick chicken
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Classic brick chicken is an old cooking method, and it goes by a number of names, such as “chicken under a brick” and “spatchcocked chicken.” The chicken cooks in less time than it would normally take to grill or roast a whole chicken, and you’re guaranteed crispy skin throughout.

Roasted one-pan chicken with leeks and barley

This roast chicken is flavored with a simple citrus rub, combining orange and lemon zest along with fennel seeds, dried thyme, black pepper and sea salt. Served with leeks and barley, it makes for a substantial meal.

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