Sometimes finding the right roast chicken recipe can be kind of like the search for Nessie or the Chupacabra. You want to believe it’s out there, you want to find it, but your intellect tells you it can’t be real. Your heart has been broken over chicken before and you just don’t know whether you should believe.
You can believe. Eventually you will hit the right one. The one that is perfect for you. This one is perfect for me, and by extension the people in my house, because I do all the cooking and they sort of are at my mercy. That is how I roll.
Nessie? No…it’s really a seal…but it works for me.
So, here is my roast chicken recipe. It’s a bit loose because your cooking time will vary based on the size of your chicken, the awesomeness of your oven and what veggies you may want.
- 1 chicken for roasting. You buy whatever brand you want….I am not a brand despot. I usually get between a 6-8 lb chicken because, leftovers.
- Lemons – about 3 or 4 depending on how big your chicken is. You’re going to stuff that chicken with them.
- Rosemary. Fresh is best.
- Butter, salted (I dislike when they don’t tell you whether it should be salted or unsalted. Assume salted when they don’t because they should tell you and salted butter is delightful. Assume nothing with me though. I will tell you).
- 3-5 lbs potatoes. Whatever you like. It’s chicken, not a mathematical formula
- Package of celery hearts. You can skip if you hate celery. You can use parsnips or something else. Or nothing else.
- Carrots. This, I eyeball. However many you like.
- Olive oil
- Chicken broth…JUST IN CASE. I like to hedge my gravy bets.
- Roasting Pan. Ok, while this is not mandatory, my chicken in a roasting pan turned out so much better than it ever has in one of those throwaways. The right tools…blah blah.
What do I do?
You cook it. I kid.
Pre-heat oven to 350. Now, I cook my chicken at 350, 15 minutes per pound. You cook yours however makes you happy. I also had a chicken the last time with one of those things that pops when it’s ready and it popped exactly when I thought it should, so I win chicken manufacturer!
Here’s what you do to prepare your chicken. Cut up your lemons and chop up your Rosemary, first thing. Then cut up your butter into slices. Rosemary is to taste but about 2 tablespoons maybe. Wash your chicken obviously and don’t forget to pull out the bag of chicken innards. Dry your chicken pretty well and then place it in the pan. Salt, pepper to taste. Now, I place a couple of pats of butter in the pan, under the chicken, completely up to you. If you are making gravy from the drippings, it smooths out your gravy nicely. Next, take the pats of butter and put 3-4 more pats up under the skin of the chicken, under the breast. It’s good, trust me. You will need to work this a bit, but I have faith in you. If you have butter left, put it in the cavity of the bird. I only used about 1/2 a stick but you could be Paula Deen about your butter, I have no idea. Next, stuff the cavity of your bird with the lemons, holding two wedges out. Take your olive oil, about a tablespoon and drizzle it over the chicken. Next, rub the oil in…all over your chicken. It makes for a crispy delightful skin. YOU WILL THANK ME. Lastly, take 2/3 of the rosemary and sprinkle over your chicken.
Now, wash the hell out of your hands and your knife and then ready your veggies. Cut up the potatoes, carrots, celery, parsnips into chunks, all around the same size. Place them in the pan around the chicken. Salt, pepper, drizzle with olive oil, remainder of rosemary, lemon and you can place the lemon in the pan with the veggies too.
By now, your oven should have dinged to let you know it’s ready. Cover your chicken with either a roasting pan lid or tin foil and then cook it for about an hour or so. This is going to depend on how big your chicken is. I made an 8 pounder the other night. In an hour, you should have juices galore, so baste away. Get ALL of the surface area. Put back into oven, uncovered. It’s not going to get brown and crispy and lovely like you want it to if you don’t uncover it. Unless you are magic.
I let it go another 30-40 minutes and baste again. If it is getting too dark but is not ready, cover again. The internal temperature for chicken should be 165 degrees (or if the little thingie pops out but I check the temp regardless). When it’s ready, I let it rest on a cutting board (I use a plastic one, not wooden) and then scoop veggies in a bowl. I then, pour the drippings into a saucepan, using a strainer to catch anything that is not a dripping. Heat on low and then I use Wondra to thicken it up into gravy, using a little at a time. Salt, pepper and when it’s where you want it, done. Side note: my mom always used Wondra so it’s what I use. If you have another gravy making technique or you just want to use drippings as is, fine. They will be lemoy and buttery.
Eat and enjoy!