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Seriously Simple: Vertical roast chicken is my go-to Friday night dinner

By Diane Rossen Worthington, Tribune Content Agency on

I have had many a heated conversation over how to roast a chicken. I even taught a food writing class at The Culinary Institute in Napa Valley on how to write the perfect roast chicken recipe. As you can see, I really like roast chicken! It is pretty easy to prepare, but there are many variations and techniques that can make a cook wonder about the best way to roast a chicken.

I have experimented with low heat, high heat, convection, roasting on a rack, roasting with vegetables below acting as a rack, on a rotisserie and, my favorite technique, vertical roasting. I use a vertical roasting rack (you can find one on Amazon or other cooking stores). If you don't want to invest in one, use a used beer can.

What makes vertical roasting so great? It's the only way I have found to have an even browned and crispy skin all over the chicken. There is nothing to interfere with the heat roasting and crisping the chicken.

This is my standard Friday night dinner; and because it is almost a meal in one (I like to add a green vegetable), it is the definition of Seriously Simple. I find that cooking the chicken at 425 F keeps the meat juicy and the skin browned and crisp. The blending of grainy Dijon mustard along with sweet balsamic glaze and zesty fresh ginger is a nice balance of flavors for the marinade, which adds color and depth of flavor to the simple chicken taste. Watch carefully if you have a large chicken that needs more time to finish; tent the top with aluminum foil to protect the chicken from burning.

What makes this dish super simple is that I carve the bird right off the vertical roaster so you don't have to mess up a carving board. Then I spoon the vegetables and juices right over the top. You can serve this on a platter or on individual plates. To drink, this dish calls for an assertive red wine, specifically a merlot, a cabernet sauvignon or a Rhone varietal such as a syrah. If you love white try sauvignon blanc from New Zealand.

Vertical Roast Chicken with Balsamic and Dijon Glaze

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Serves 4

For the marinade:

2 tablespoons balsamic glaze

2 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard


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