The Biggest Mistake You're Making With Roast Chicken, According To Ina Garten

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Ina Garten, the celebrity chef known as the Barefoot Contessa, has reached cult favorite status in the past few years. The former White House budget writer turned gourmet food store owner has been the host of "Barefoot Contessa" on the Food Network since 2002, cooking alone or with celebrity friends in her famous Hamptons barn  while we mere mortals watch in awe. In addition, she's a frequent guest on morning shows, a popular Halloween costume, and now the author of 13 cookbooks. (Her newest book, "Go-To Dinners," is coming out in October of this year, according to her website.) 

Garten's 3.5 million Instagram followers may have fallen deeper in love with her during the pandemic when she mixed a comically gigantic cosmopolitan for her quarantine happy hour (this writer certainly did!). Her longtime fans, however, respect her for how she tests her recipes, providing readers with exact measurements and thoroughly edited instructions. For example, reviewers on Amazon point out how delicious her recipes are and how they keep going back to her cookbooks. One of the most popular Barefoot Contessa recipes, garnering five stars and more than 1,500 reviews on the Food Network, is her "perfect roast chicken," published in "The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook" in 1999. In fact, during one of her cooking shows, Garten shared that when her beloved husband Jeffrey comes home on Friday evenings, she always prepares a roast chicken recipe.

Garten's tips for perfect roast chicken

Kelli Foster of the Kitchn website, who claims to be a longtime follower of chef Jacques Pepin's roast chicken, gave Garten's version of the classic dish a 10 out of 10. Foster stated, "From the crispy skin and tender, juicy meat that's subtly infused with lemon, herbs, and garlic, to the charred edges on the root vegetables, this chicken is flawless." But not all home cooks are created equal. Susan Templeton of Canyon Lake, California, for example, "asked Ina" (in a Q&A section on Garten's website) why her chicken came out dry and the vegetables got "completely charred." The Contessa shared two simple tips that may save us all from a similar fate.

Garten first recommends using an oven thermometer to ensure your oven temperature is accurate. According to General Electric, oven temperatures can vary tremendously, making the number on the dial more of an estimate than a guarantee. An oven that's too hot will burn those cut veggies before the chicken has time to cook through. Garten then suggested using a pan that is just big enough to hold the bird and the vegetables "snugly." A common mistake is using too large a pan, resulting in burnt veggies. How easy is that?