Made totally kickass roast chicken last night. Roast chicken is one of those things that once upon a time was considered dead simple to make, and then everyone turned into a foodie and was like "Oh, making a perfect roast chicken like the French do takes special knowledge, skills, and equipment" and soon the labor-intensive One True Roast Chicken recipes came flying -- you must cook it breast side down first! you have to roast it on high and then turn it down! baste it! brine it!
But I consulted the Minimalist Cooks at Home last night, and Mark Bittman is very old-school about it. Roast at 400 degrees and turn the pan in the oven a few times so it heats evenly. Basting with a liquid containing some form of sugar is nice and gives a dark brown skin. And that's it.
So what I did will take longer to write out than the actual work entailed. Stuffed the cavity with half a lemon, half a head of garlic, and a big sprig of tarragon. Stuffed under the skin a few more sprigs of tarragon and some butter. Drizzled a little olive oil on the skin and sprinkled with sea salt. Threw into the pan around it some baby Yukon Gold potatoes (my favorite) and some halved mushrooms, and the other half of the head of garlic, and made sure those got a little salt and pepper. When it was done and I left it to rest before cutting it up, I squeezed the lemon from the cavity over it. The pan juices were wonderful, all over the potatoes and mushrooms. And now: leftovers!