I pride myself in cooking Thanksgiving every year. I cook the turkey, all the sides, and even dessert. It’s hands-down my favorite holiday. 2018 was the first year of my life that I didn’t spend Thanksgiving with my family or cooking. It was hard to take in but starting a new job meant that sacrifices had to be made… and Thanksgiving was one of them.
I felt inspired to cook an ENTIRE chicken. I had cooked turkeys but never a whole chicken. A winter storm was hitting St. Louis and I wanted to cook enough to last us a while in case we weren’t able to leave our house for whatever reason. And thus, this roast chicken was born. This recipe is pretty straightforward, but let me just disclose a few things:
- I cooked my chicken in a cast iron pan, but you can use a regular roasting pan and it’ll work just fine.
- I have heard about spatchcock chicken, but have never actually done that… but if you know how to spatchcock a chicken, you can definitely do that to this recipe but you won’t be able to stuff the cavity of the bird since there won’t be a cavity.
- The cavity. I fill chickens and turkeys with delicious aromatics to impart flavor not just on the skin of the bird, but within it, too. I find that my poultry tastes better that way.
- I also try and squeeze a few ingredients between the skin and the meat of the bird. I just use a knife to separate the skin from the meat and slide a few garlic cloves and lemon slices.
- BUTTA. Lots of butter. It makes the skin golden brown and crispy. Really, I do it for aesthetic reasons. But the flavor is good too.
Simple Roasted Chicken
First time roasting a chicken and this is what I came up with. The meat was tender and juicy and filled with flavor.
- 1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds
- 2 onions, thickly sliced
- 4 medium carrots, quartered
- 2 lemons, zested and sliced
- 1 head of garlic, all peeled and smashed
- 1 bunch of fresh thyme
- 1/2 stick of butter, softened
- red pepper flakes
- onion powder
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Prep the chicken: Remove any gizzards and wash and pat dry the chicken. Make sure it is very dry otherwise it won’t roast properly. Sprinkle the cavity with salt and pepper, and sprinkle the outside with salt and pepper liberally. You will probably use about 1 tablespoon of each total.
- Stuff the cavity of the chicken with half of the onions, half of the carrots, a few of the slices of lemon, 3-4 sprigs of thyme, and 4-5 cloves of smashed garlic.
- Place the chicken in the roasting pan or cast iron skillet with the legs facing up, and the wings tucked beneath the body. Using kitchen twine, tie the two legs together so that they are tight and can’t move around.
- Using your hands, massage the butter all over the chicken, getting in between the thigh and leg, between the wings, and the bottom. Season the entire chicken with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, paprika, oregano, and onion powder. You will used about 1-2 tablespoons of each, depending on how large your chicken is.
- Lay out the remaining onions, carrots, lemon slices, thyme sprigs, and garlic around the roasting pan or cast iron skillet. Season those with the same seasoning blend, about 2 teaspoons of each.
- Place the chicken in the middle of your oven and let it cook for about one hour to an hour and fifteen minutes or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh.
- Before serving: let the chicken rest for about 15 to 20 minutes on a cutting board. Cover the chicken with foil to prevent it from cooling too quickly. This lets the juices rest instead of run out onto your cutting board.
- Enjoy! Carve the chicken and store in the fridge for about 3-4 days before discarding.