People speak a lot of bosh about roast chicken. It's my favorite thing in the world and very easy to cook. Here's my favorite recipe by Laurie Colwin:
Laurie Colwin's roast chicken
1. Peel and cut up 4 potatoes and 4 carrots along with a couple of onions and put them in a skillet. Saute the vegetables in a little butter until onions are golden, season them with salt and pepper and crumble in some thyme or rosemary. Tip the vegetables into a large roasting pan. Add a coffee cupful of water to the skillet and boil it while scraping up the bits. Pour this over the vegetables.
2. Pat the chicken (a 3- to 3 1/2-lb. bird is a good size) with paper towels. Stuff it with a couple of cloves of garlic and half a lemon. Or, if you feel like it, you can dice up enough good whole wheat bread to make about 12 cups, toss it with 1/4 lb. fresh porcini mushrooms that have been chopped and cooked for a few minutes in a little butter and salt and pepper and broth to moisten the bread ...and end up with a stuffing that is both down-home and upscale at the same time.
3. Then dust the chicken with paprika (gives skin a lovely deep color and the merest hint of smokiness), salt and pepper. Next set the chicken in the midst of the vegetables like an ocean liner among tugs.
4. Roast the chicken and vegetables in a 300 degree F. oven. The trick to roasting chicken is to baste every 15 minutes. This is a boring chore but worth the effort. I often like to squeeze half a lemon over my chicken toward the end and I roast the bird at least 2 hours and as long as 3. When the leg bone wiggles and skin is the color of teak, it's time to eat.
You can read Anna Quindlen's appreciation of Laurie Colwin here.