The distinction between roasting a whole chicken vs. baking the pieces is important for this recipe. With a roasted chicken, you're looking to elevate the bird as much as possible - using a roasting pan with a rack. That way it's the hot, dry air he oven that cooks it, producing a beautiful crispy skin while the meat stays juicy. With baked chicken, you cook it at a lower temperature than a roasted chicken, but with baked chicken, we shoot for 375°.
Since the chicken is cut up, and the pieces lie flat in a baking dish, the dish is conducting heat directly into the bottom half of the chicken, which is totally different than air. You get the sizzling fat on the bottom, for one thing, making it wonderfully crackly underneath. Thus a chicken prepared in the way I just described is really midway between roasting and braising. Or maybe not quite midway. Forty percent, let's say.
Another difference is that a baked chicken is typically dredged in seasoned flour before cooking, which we don't do when roasting a whole bird.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Combine the flour, salt, pepper and other seasonings in a shallow dish.
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
- Working one piece at a time, dredge each piece of chicken in the flour, dip it in the melted butter and then transfer to a baking dish skin-side-up.
- Bake for about an hour or until the juices run clear and the chicken is nicely browned and cooked all the way through.