Growing up, if our family was going to have chicken, we always bought boneless, skinless chicken breast from the grocery store. ALWAYS. We never bought any sort of dark meat or anything with bones.
I often cook dinner for my mom and one day, out of the blue, she requested a roasted chicken for dinner. To that, I responded with a line from one of my favorite movies, “As you wish.”
Cue side note:
Just discovered this book. The audiobook version is suppose to be amazing! Cary Elwes, Wallace Shawn, Rob Reiner, Robin Wright, and more all talk about the making of The Princess Bride. How cool is that? I’m totally geeking out.
And back to the chicken!
I have gone through several iterations of roast chicken, but this one was a crowd favorite. It is herby, flavorful and juicy.
Earlier this week, I posted a recipe for Herb Butter that you will need for this recipe. Don’t worry, it’s super simple!
1 onion, sliced into thick wedges
3 carrots, chopped
5 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup liquid, water or chicken stock
1 whole chicken
4 sprigs of rosemary
8 sprigs of thyme
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Some people like to roast their chicken on a rack in a pan, I prefer to use a natural rack (i.e., a layer of cut up vegetables). This way, my chicken doesn’t sit in the rendered fat while it cooks. The fat drips onto the vegetables below, making a delicious side for the chicken. I like to use onions, carrots and celery as my natural rack.
I chop the veggies into chunks and put them into a 9 x 13 pyrex. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Pour one cup of water or chicken broth in to give a little moisture while cooking.
Remove the gizzards from the chicken. I like to give my chicken a rinse before cooking it, but that is a personal choice. Pat the chicken dry and place it on top of the veggies, breast up. Some people truss their chicken others like to flip the wing tips under. I do neither.
I just set the chicken, unencumbered, on the veggies and I have never had any problems with uneven cooking or toasty wing tips.
Now comes the tricky part, smearing the herb butter onto the chicken. I used my hands, but I think it might be be better to use a spatula for two reasons. Number one: I got butter all over my hands which was very messy. Number two: when the warm, softened butter touches the cold chicken it hardens.
If one uses a spatula, the butter could be spread evenly, quickly without a gooey, slippery mess.
Spread the herb butter on the breast, legs and wings.
Cut the lemon in half and squeeze over the chicken. Place one half into the cavity, then the sprigs of herbs, then the second half. The second half might not fit, if the chicken is on the smaller side. This one was 5.5 pounds and the second half stuck out a little.
Bake until temperature reaches 155°F. For a 5.5 pound chicken, it took an hour and a half. The herbs on top will begin to smoke slightly towards the end, however they taste very good with the crispy skin.
Let rest 15-20 minutes with aluminum foil over the bird. Be careful while doing this since the pan and chicken is very hot, at least 425°F.
Carve and enjoy.