Talking with a couple of friends about how much cheaper it is to buy whole chickens than chicken breasts or thighs and wings separately but it apparently being so much more work to cook I realized they don’t cook their chickens as a whole but cut them in pieces before. That, oh yes, is a pain! However, absolutely not necessary. The easiest and least messiest way to cook a whole chicken is to roast it in the oven (um, unless you are a cleaning freak and scrub your oven whenever a drop of fat splatters its walls. I don’t…My oven gets cleaned once a month if at all or if something I ammaking spills over and leaves a too big of a mess to be ignored *blush*). It not only is the easiest and least messiest but in my humble opinion the MOST DELICIOUS way, too.
Don’t be scared to try it. It is really, really easy. I promise! There was the time I had to do it for the first time, too. I was scared to burn or otherwise destroy a whole chicken but everything went well because roasting a chicken is seriously an extremely basic cooking skill.
The wonderful thing about roasting a whole chicken is you prepare it and then just sit on the sofa waiting for it to be ready, thus it is a wonderful dish to make for dinner guests. You can plan ahead, have the veggies cut, the bird prepared, everything in the fridge and 30-45 minutes before your guests arrive you pop it in the oven and by the time you are finished drinking your appetizers the whole apartment/house smells delicious and the chicken is ready for everybody to enjoy.
OR, if you make it just for you, or just for you and your significant other or just for you and your small family, there will be leftovers which you can reuse for a totally different dish/dishes. In my case when I roast a chicken, I eat one leg, my husband the other, my kids eat a wing each and the breast and back meat I use for a different dish such as my Quick and Easy Thai Green Curry. (Recipe up on the blog on Thursday).
You can use any hard vegetables such as root vegetables as a base, my all time favorite for a roast chicken though are potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and celery. The amounts are dictated by how many people will eat from this specific dish. If it is only for one person and the rest of the chicken will be used for other dishes I suggest to use 1 small potato, 1 small sweet potato, 1 medium sized carrot and 2 celery stalks. Adjust accordingly. You can also use any herbs, use or not the lemon, use any spices you like on your chicken. My all time favorite are simply salt, pepper, lemon and rosemary.
To achieve an extra crispy skin and super juicy flesh I highly, highly, highly recommend to insert pieces of cold butter underneath the skin as shown in the picture above. Butter makes everything taste deli but makes a roast chicken a roast chicken out.of.this.world!
Rosemary Lemon Roast Chicken
- 1 whole chicken (3 lbs / 1.5 kg)
- 1/2 large onion
- 3-4 medium sized potatoes
- 2 medium sized sweet potatoes
- 2 large carrots
- 4 celery stalks
- 1/4 cups olive oil
- 1/4 cup cold butter
- 1 lemon
- 1 bunch rosemary
- salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 450F (230C).
- Peel onion and cut into 3-4 about 1/2" (1.25cm) rounds and place in the middle of your largest ovenproof dish.
- Peel potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots, wash celery stalks.
- Chop vegetables into 1" dice and lay out evenly around onions (as seen on picture above).
- Sprinkle salt and pepper over vegetables.
- Wash you chicken (remove giblets if applicable) and place breast-side up on top of onion rounds.
- Cut the head or tail of the lemon (only so the flesh is a little exposed) and then insert the whole lemon in the chicken's cavity.
- Insert rosemary into chicken's cavity.
- Cut butter into pieces and insert half of it in between chicken skin and meat and scatter the rest over here and there over the vegetables.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper over chicken.
- Pour 1/4 cup olive oil evenly over chicken and vegetables.
- Place dish in the oven and IMMEDIATELY TURN DOWN HEAT TO 400F (200C). If you forget this step or don't do it immediately, your chicken will end up burned.
- Roast for 20 minutes per pound (450g) PLUS an additional 20 minutes. In my case, for my 3 lbs chicken it ended up being 1:20 hours.