There are some things that always, no matter what remind me of home and my mother. Roasted chicken definitely fits the bill. Its that smell, it just hits me and really does make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. As simple as roasted chicken is, I really don’t think I could ever become bored with it, I can always go for some roasted chicken, always.
Choosing a whole chicken to roast is in my opinion the best and most cost-effective way to buy a chicken. Not only is the whole process simple, but you will almost always have leftovers in some form. You can really extend the chicken to satisfy yourself for multiple meals throughout the week. Since it is just the two of us, we made chicken enchiladas, curried chicken salad wraps and then a leftover chicken soup, but even if you don’t have leftovers, it is still completely worth it and delicious. This particular recipe has been adapted from Barefoot Contessa. The basic premise is to choose a smaller (5-6 pound) chicken, cover in butter or olive oil and roast at a high temperature, this technique quickly crisps the skin of the chicken therefore maintaining all the internal juices and flavor. The whole process takes about 15 minutes of prep and then 1 1/2 hours of cooking time, so the time spent in the kitchen is very little.
To enhance the chicken, I went with some simple flavors: lemon and garlic which get stuffed inside the cavity of the chicken. I have read before that this is a pointless exercise and that very little flavor actually gets infused into the chicken, but I do not particularly agree. While the chicken does not become lemon or garlic “flavored” at the end of the process, I do believe the chicken is left with a lovely hint of lemon and garlic, maybe its my imagination, but either way I think I will stick with it. I also place the chicken on a bed of carrots and onions. Not only do they lift the chicken up a bit, which I think helps even roasting, they also are delicious to eat alongside the chicken.
Each time I have made this recipe (and I have made it a lot), the cooking time always works out perfectly for me, but due to differences in oven etc, I suggest you check the chicken after about 1 hour to see how its doing. One more thing, don’t forget to let the chicken rest after removing it from the oven for at least 15 minutes, this allows all the juices to redistribute through the chicken and means when you begin to carve, the meat will be perfectly moist. During the resting time, maybe you could make a gravy with the pan juices or assemble some other sides to go with your meal.
- 1 5-6 pound chicken
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1 whole garlic head, halved
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 tablespoon pepper
- 3 carrots, cut into 2 inch chunks
- 1 onion, thickly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Remove the chicken giblets and rinse the chicken inside and out. Pat the chicken dry with paper towel then liberally sprinkle salt and pepper inside the chicken and then stuff the cavity with at least half the garlic and half the lemon (add more if you can fit it). Rub or brush the chicken all over with the olive oil, then liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper. Using kitchen string, tie the legs together and tuck the wings underneath the bird (this will ensure even cooking and reduce burning of the wing tips).
- Place the carrots and onion and any left over garlic or lemon down in a roasting pan, then toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread them around the roasting pan and then place the chicken on top.
- Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and a thigh and the internal temperature of the breast is about 165-170°F and 180-185°F for the thigh. Remove the chicken and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes, then serve.