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Mother baked chicken this way most of the Sundays of my childhood. Until I was eight or so, the poultry came from our chicken pen, just beyond the back porch. The birds roasted in the oven while the family went to church. Long services meant falling-apart chicken. I don't know where Mother learned this technique, or why she called it "basting" the chicken, but I do know it still makes an incredibly delicious, juicy roast dish.

Mother's "Basted" Chicken

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Melt 1/3 cup fresh butter. Brown it lightly if you like.
  3. Stir in enough unbleached flour to make a spreadable paste.
  4. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and 2 teaspoons sweet paprika. (I used Blue Moon"s "Only Sweet" Paprika - outstanding.)
  5. Mix well.
  6. Wash the chicken and pat it dry with towels or clean cloths.
  7. Put the chicken in an ovenproof baking dish, breast side up. Smear the "baste" on all its surfaces.
  8. Bake at 375 degrees until the chicken reaches 165 degrees on your handy dandy instant read thermometer. Check the temperature in the thickest part of the breast and the meatiest inside part of the thigh. (You can also wiggle the legs or wing joints to see if they feel easy and loose, another sign of "doneness.") The chicken should be lightly golden all over. Depending on the size of the chicken, roasting will be complete in 90 minutes, more or less.

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