Ladies and Gentlemen, the dinner dilemma has been solved. I’ve recently begun roasting a whole chicken on a Sunday or Monday night and then having plenty leftover for lunches and dinner for a few more meals. This usually becomes chicken tacos, chicken salad and sometimes just plain reheated roast chicken leftovers. It’s a simple recipe and it’s really inexpensive to buy chickens whole and cook them yourself then to buy all the cut-up parts separately. It's also so much less work to just roast a chicken once and have chicken for the week then to do it all every night. That’s why I like to do this roast towards the beginning of the week, when my motivation is high, my fridge is full and my mind isn’t yet overwhelmed by the Tuesday, Wednesday etc. weekday worries.
Roasting a chicken also makes a home smell delicious so it’s a warm and comforting activity for a late weekend evening. This recipe calls for one fresh herb and one lemon, but you will be just fine leaving these out or substituting the thyme for rosemary or tarragon and the lemon for an orange. (You may be hesitant about this orange suggestion but it only goes in the cavity of the bird and brings a very very mild flavor so don’t get too worked up about it).
1 whole chicken (in this recipe I used a 5lb.er so adjust accordingly)
salt and pepper
1 bunch (3-5 sprigs) of rosemary (or thyme, tarragon, whatever fresh herb you prefer)
1 small lemon
½ yellow onion
3 garlic cloves
3 tblsp. unsalted butter or margarine
Preheat your oven to 425°F.
Remove the packet of giblets from the chicken!
Take your onion and chop into two or three large chunks. Cut the lemon and each garlic clove in half. Turn the chicken upside down and sprinkle salt and sugar liberally inside the cavity (about ½ tsp. of each). Stuff the onion, lemon, garlic and rosemary inside the cavity of the chicken. Melt the butter in the microwave for about 10 seconds just so it’s spreadable and at about room temperature. Using your fingers (yah, it feels awesome/gross) rub the butter all over the outside of the chicken. Then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper all over the outside of the chicken (about another ½ to 1 tsp. of each).
I like to place the chicken on a rack that fits in a pan, but you don’t have to do this. I use a rack because when the fat drips down it doesn’t linger in the chicken so it’s a bit healthier. Roast the chicken for about 45 minutes to an hour. If the skin starts to burn before the chicken is finished cooking just cover the bird with tinfoil for the rest of the baking time. To tell if it has finished cooking take a knife and slice through the thickest part (thigh or breast) to see if the juices run clear. If you ever start to carve and see specs of bright red or the meat doesn’t slice easily just put it back for another 10 minutes until it has finished. To carve the bird allow it to cool at room temperature for about 15 minutes and slice away. This can get messy but have fun with it. There’s no messing up, just smaller pieces.
*You can leave the cooked chicken in the fridge for about 4 days but any no longer than that and it should be frozen until you would like to eat it.