This is the recipe that turned me into a Bittman disciple. I received How to Cook Everything for Christmas 2006. As I reviewed the book that morning I saw the roast chicken recipe and scoffed. I didn't think it would work, but I was wrong. I've made a couple of minor changes to this, but nothing too difficult.
Here's what you need.
1 whole chicken
1 stick of butter (softened)
2 good-sized cloves of garlic
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.
Special equipment needed: cast iron skillet big enough to hold chicken
Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place empty cast iron skillet in the oven. You want to get the skillet screaming hot, so leave it in there for 20 to 30 minutes before you're ready to put the chicken in.
Meanwhile take the softened butter, garlic, salt and pepper and place it in a blender or food processor and mix. With your hands remove the skin from the chicken, but don't remove it completely. You're making room to place the butter/garlic mixture between the skin and meat of the bird (this is not a job for the dainty, it gets real messy pretty quick). After you're done with that take a bit more salt and pepper and sprinkle on the top of the chicken.
Place chicken in the skillet and let cook for 60 to 70 minutes. After an hour you'll want to check and see where you're at, but you want to cook until you hit an internal temp of 180 degrees. I used the wireless meat thermometer last night and it worked like a charm.
Now when I first read that recipe I didn't think there was a way in hell that the chicken would be cooked, or if it was cooked it would be dry as dust. But I was wrong, this give you some of the most tender bird I've ever had. You can experiment with the butter mixture as well adding different herbs and spices.
I sometimes also make some pan gravy with the juices let over in the pan. If necessary add some water and then gradually add flour while stirring constantly. It's good stuff.
(And I finally remembered to take a picture.)