This baked chicken recipe is one of those recipes that every home cook should have in their repertoire. It uses a minimal amount of ingredients – chicken, olive oil, salt and pepper (and if you want gravy, chicken stock or white wine) and is especially useful on those busy days when you are just too busy to get creative. My mother makes this chicken about once a month and usually serves it with mango chutney and Spanish rice.
Classic Baked Chicken Recipe
- 3 to 4 lb chicken, cut into 8 parts (2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 legs, 2 wings) excluding the back
- Olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup of chicken stock* or white wine for the gravy (optional)
1 Preheat oven to 400°F. Rinse chicken pieces in water and pat dry with paper towels. Coat the bottom of a roasting pan with olive oil. Rub some olive oil over all of the chicken pieces in the roasting pan. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken pieces with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Arrange the pieces skin-side up in the roasting pan so the largest pieces are in the center (the breasts) and there is a little room between pieces so they aren't crowded in the pan.
2 Cook for 30 minutes at 400°F. Then lower the heat to 350°F and cook for 10-30 minutes more (approximately 14 to 15 minutes per pound total cooking time) until juices run clear (not pink) when poked with a sharp knife or the internal temperature of the chicken breasts is 165°F and the thighs 170°. If your chicken pieces aren't browning to your satisfaction, you can put them under the broiler for the last 5 minutes of cooking, until browned sufficiently.
3 Remove roasting pan from oven. Remove chicken from roasting pan to a serving plate. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
4 To make gravy for the chicken, take the roasting pan with its drippings and place on a medium setting on the stovetop. Use a metal spatula to scrape up the drippings stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add a half cup of white wine or chicken stock* to the pan to help deglaze the drippings from the pan.
Pour the wine/stock and dripping mixture into a small saucepan and heat on medium high to reduce to desired thickness.
*While the chicken pieces are baking, if you bought a whole chicken that was then cut into pieces, you may have the back, the neck, and some gizzard pieces to use for making chicken stock. You can chop up the back a little, put it and the neck and gizzards (not the liver) into a small saucepan, barely cover with water, bring to a simmer, cook while the chicken is cooking. When the chicken in the oven is done cooking, use the stock from simmering the extra pieces to make the gravy.