I first learned to roast chicken from a cookbook Brian's aunt gave me called "How to Cook Everything".
This recipe alone has made the gift a great purchase. I really enjoy the number of variations offered on the staple items like this.
The basics of this chicken, boiled down; Start heat high, baste a ton, turn the heat down once browning to cook the insides.
from How to Cook Everything
1 whole (3-4 pound) chicken, trimmed of excess fat, then rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, rosemary, marjoram, oregano, or sage leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
chopped fresh herbs for garnish
1) Preheat oven to 500*F
2) Place the chicken breast, breast side down, on a rack in a roasting pan. Begin roasting. Mis together the olive oil, herbs, salt, and pepper.
3) After the chicken has roasted for about 20 minutes, spoon some of the olive oil mixture over it, then turn the bird breast side up. Baste again, then again after 7-8 minutes; at this point the breasts should be beginning to brown (if it hasn't, roast a few more minutes).
Turn down the heat to 325*F, baste again, and roast until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 160-165*F. Total roasting time will be under an hour.
4) Before removing the chicken from the pan, tip the pan to let the juices from the bird's cavity flow into the pan (if they are red, cook another 5 minutes). Remove the bird to a platter and let it rest for about 5 minutes. While it is resting, pour the pan juices into a clear measuring cup, and pour or spoon off as much of the fat as you can. Reheat the juice, carve the bird, garnish, and serve with the pan juices.
I made a simple gravy out of the juices this time, but my gravies need some work. :-/ I had way to much flour and it got really thick. I'll work on that one before I post tips. :p We had mashed potatoes though... if you don't, the juices are plenty with the chicken.
* If your bird is bigger, roast longer. (Simple, right?) I find my 5 pound birds go about an hour and 15-20, but I don't watch the clock super closely.
* Don't depend on the pop out timers. I've cooked this many times, and its far better if you trust the instant read thermometer. Sometimes the other is a little long and it dries out some.
*If you don't have a roasting pan, invest in a good one if at all possible. The teflon flaked off my first one right away, so I'm back in the market. :(
* When in doubt, baste baste baste!! It comes out super juicy and just a hint crunchy in the skin, and its really not much extra work. If you're like me you're already hiding in the kitchen near the warm oven or working on sides anyways. :)
Remember; Don't trust the pop up thermometers!! Good on turkeys, not with this recipe. Not for me, anyways.
And yes, my book always has at least that many post it tabs. Its full of awesomeness!!
PS: I am using the amazon associates feature. This means I get a small cut if you buy something I recommend. I am not in it for profit, I just find it convenient for mentioning products I love. I felt being upfront about its presence was important. Please don't feel that I expect anything.
That said, know that any small revenue made there will likely go to food or cooking tools! XD