Around here, we make a whole-roasted chicken about once a week.
Actually, I’ve got one thawing in the fridge right now for tonight’s dinner, and it got me thinking I should share the recipe with you all.
My girlfriend Trish is the one who first inspired me to try the herb-lemon-olive oil version, and I am completely indebted to her (Thanks, Trish!).
Everyone in my fam loves this meal.
I’m pretty sure my three year old boy could take down half the chicken by himself he loves it so much.
Personally? I just love making it because it’s an easy, affordable way to fill everyone’s bellies with something that is fairly healthy and (according to them) super yummy.
The other bonus: there is almost always meat left on the bones that can be used the next day in a soup, salad, or WHATEVER. It’s a meal that EASILY does double-duty, and no leftovers are ever wasted when I make it.
|Mmmmm. This one browned up especially well|
But before I share the recipe, how about a funny little story?
Every time I make this meal, I enjoy employing my kids to help prep the chicken.
They think it’s pretty cool, and now that they’ve moved past the grossed-out factor, and they know how good the finished product is, they are really such eager little helpers.
But one time as we were prepping the bird, and I was carefully explaining each step to my kids (who were up at the counter with me), from the corner of my eye, I saw my 3 year old boy running his finger slowly across the PRE-COOKED, but oh-so-perfectly-seasoned bird, then about DIED when he plunked the same finger into his mouth to lick off all that goodness. “Agghhhhhh,” I yelped!
Hunny! You CANNOT lick the chicken when it is STILL raw!
I think I scared him half to death before we all had a giggle over it.
Poor guy was just hoping to get an early taste of the buttery, garlicy, lemony deliciousness…what does he know about salmonella? (And apparently, he is a resilient little fellow because he was just fine).
OK. Here it is for ya, step by step:
1. Prepare everything you’ll need to season the bird, and have it within reach before you start. That way, you don’t have to worry about raw chicken juices getting on everything. 🙂
–Juice and zest from one lemon
-Fresh chopped Rosemary, 1 -2 Tbsp chopped, plus 1-2 whole sprigs
(Thyme works beautifully with the garlic and lemon in this recipe too).
-Minced garlic + a couple of whole cloves
-Salt and pepper
2. Remove the plastic bag from inside the chicken that has all the innards.
3. Rinse the chicken, inside and out. [Do NOT use soap]. 😉
Pat it dry with paper towels.
4. Using your hand, carefully separate the skin from the meat of the chicken.
5. Begin seasoning between the meat and the skin.
To do this, mash up your butter, zest, garlic, & chopped herbs, and spread this herb-mixture in between the skin and the meat.
6. Next, pour the lemon juice, the lemon halves, a couple of whole garlics,and a sprig of fresh herbs, into the cavity of the bird.
7. Drizzle the bird with the olive oil, then give it a good dousing of salt and pepper. Be liberal since you are seasoning an entire chicken!
8. Stick ‘er in the oven on 450 degrees for exactly 1/2 hour. The high heat will brown the top beautifully and make the skin crispier.
(Note: as shown in the pic, I sometimes cook my bird on a rack over top of a 9×13″ pan to get the air circulating all the way around it–kinda like a rotisserie roaster would. However if you plan on adding veggies later, you may want to put the bird directly into the 9×13 or the roasting pan).
9. Then lower the heat to 350, and cook for another 1- 1 1/2 hrs depending on the size of your bird. Check for an internal temp (at thigh) to be a minimum of 165 degrees, and the breast to be about 175.
I have learned the hard way that relying on the pop-up thermometer usually results in dried-out meat.
You could also look for the “juices to run clear” but be forewarned that cutting into your bird before it’s had a chance to rest will also dry it out.
If necessary, you can use a tin foil tent over the breast meat for the last 1/2 hr or so if the skin on top is getting too dark.
If cooking potatoes or other veggies with the chicken–Season them as desired, and…
10. When you’ve got about an hour left, pull the bird out, and add the seasoned, sliced potatoes around the chicken and return to the oven quickly.
Our MOST favorite way to cook ’em is to slice them into wedges with skins left on.
Once your bird is done, put it on a fancy platter if you’ve got company coming over, garnish with lemon slices and fresh herbs, and wow ’em with the perdy presentation.
Otherwise, just serve immediately to your own hungry people and ENJOY!
CLICK HERE for Easy-Print Version of this Recipe!
~from my kitchen to yours~