Friday, April 22, 2011

An easy roast chicken recipe for spring!

Pin It Periodically, I plan on featuring a recipe.  Not a gourmet recipe, not a Julia Child recipe (as much as I love to cook that way!), but just a simple recipe that works and tastes good.  A recipe for the busy everyday cook.     

It took me a few years to realize that roasting a chicken is easy.  Super easy. I am not promising the perfect gourmet bird for dinner. But I am saying you will end up with a pretty tasty roast chicken for dinner, and no basting involved.  This is a great recipe for moms of little ones.  Prepare the chicken during naptime and place it in the oven; pull it out when your hubby walks in the door, and dinner is served.

Preheat your oven to 350. Take the chicken out of the packaging.

Take out the innards if they are in there. If they freak you out, throw them away. If you're frugal, hang onto them and stick them in your fridge for another day. There is actually some nutritional benefit to those innards!

Rinse the chicken off and pat it dry with a paper towel. Lay it on your roasting pan, or in a pyrex or Schlemmertopf (see 'kitchenware' section of my amazon store).

Mince a few sprigs of fresh herbs and mash into 1-2 T of room temperature butter.  Some of my favorite herbs to use are thyme, rosemary, sage or lavender.  They each go wonderfully with chicken!

Now push the herbed butter under the skin covering the breasts. It won't stay perfectly, but remember it will melt and spread around. You can also rub some of that butter on top of the chicken.  If you have some extra herbs, lay them on top (or mince and sprinkle on top) and stuff some in the chicken's cavity.  Sprinkle the chicken with course salt and freshly cracked pepper.
Here is one of my chickens with fresh lavender and sage.
Now while you're at it, don't you want dinner to be a breeze tonight? Well, scrub off a few potatoes and place them around the chicken. Wash and peel a few carrots and tuck those in, too.  Since it's spring, add some asparagus and quartered onions, and cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice over the vegetables.  Stuff the rest of the lemon into the chicken's cavity. Voila! You're done with dinner, and it should only be about 3 in the afternoon.

Cover the chicken with foil. Place in the oven at 350 for 1.5 - 2 hours if it's a broiler (~5lbs) or for 1 - 1.5 hours if it's a fryer (~3lbs).  (There's leeway in the time listed because you have leeway.  You don't have to get to it right at 1.5 hours.)

Crispy, golden skin!
 After that time in the oven, remove the foil, and return the bird to the oven for another 20-30 minutes until the skin is crispy and golden.  With this amount of time, the chicken should definitely be done, although if you want to be absolutely sure you can always punch in that meat thermometer.

Even if the chicken roasts longer than necessary, you don't have to worry about it drying out. Covering it with foil helps retain moisture, as does the butter. I've left chickens like these in the oven for 3 hours, and they still have remained moist and delicious.

Let the chicken sit for 10-15 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute, then place the chicken on a platter surrounded by the vegetables. You can pour the juices into a gravy boat for drizzling on the sliced chicken meat, or you can make a gravy with the juices...but that's for another post!  Happy spring eating!

Herb-Roasted Chicken

1  5-6 lb chicken
1-2 T butter, room temp
several sprigs of fresh herbs (sage, thyme, rosemary & lavendar are all favorites)
coarse salt & cracked pepper
potatoes, carrots, onions (quartered), asaparagus
1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350.  Rinse and dry chicken, remove innards and place in roasting pan/pyrex/Schlemmertopf.  Mince fresh herbs and mash into room temperature butter.  Push butter under the skin of the breasts.  Rub any remaining butter on top of the chicken.  Put remaining herbs inside the cavity and/or sprinkle on top of the chicken.

Place vegetables around the chicken (I prefer to roast the chicken in a pyrex or schlemmertopf when adding vegetables).  Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice over the vegetables.  Place the remaining lemon halves inside the cavity of the chicken.

Cover with foil (or the lid of the Schlemmertopf).  Place in the oven for 1.5-2 hours--it's okay to leave it a bit longer for convenience's sake.  Uncover and let roast 20-30 more minutes until the skin is golden.  Let sit 10-15 minutes before serving.  Place the chicken on a platter surrounded by the vegetables.  Serve with the pan juices spooned over the meat, or use the juices to make a gravy.

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