Recently I’ve had several friends ask me how I roast a chicken, so last night I snapped a few pictures during the roasting process and thought I’d share my roasting knowledge here. First, it is important to know that I LOVE roasted chicken. I love it because it is super easy to make and you can have many meals out of the leftovers – very economical! Plus, with this roasting process the chicken always turns out beautiful, juicy, and full of flavor. I know that there are 10,000 ways to roast a chicken but I like this method because its quick and I always have these ingredients on hand.
First you need yourself a good, whole chicken. I prefer to buy mine at the meat counter at Fareway. It is cheaper and usually better quality than the pre-packaged ones you can find in the cooler section. However, if you are at Wal-mart and don’t want to make a separate trip to the grocery store than pick up the packaged one and be on your way! I often buy 2-3 chickens at a time and freeze the others. If you do have a frozen chicken, give it an entire day and night to completely thaw in the refrigerator. Most chickens no longer come with the giblets inside of them but it is always a good idea to take a peak and make sure 🙂 My little guy is pictured below. He is just over 3 pounds.
Now your chicken is ready for a few flavor enhancing seasonings. You will need chicken stock, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and some Italian seasonings.
I use a 7-quart cast iron dutch oven to roast in but any covered roaster will do. Pour about 1/2 cup of chicken broth into the bottom of the roasting pan. The broth will help keep the chicken moist and juicy so make sure it covers the entire bottom of the roasting pan (plus some). Then I add my minced garlic to the broth – usually about a healthy teaspoon. Adding it to the broth allows the garlic to infuse into the broth and gently flavor the chicken. The next part is my favorite… you go a head and give you little chicken a massage! I pour a small handful of olive oil into my palms and go to town with a chicken rub-down. You could also use softened butter (which tastes delicious and gives a more golden and crispy skin) but I was trying to be healthier so olive oil it is 🙂 Next, sprinkle 1-2 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of black pepper, and 1 tsp of Italian seasonings all over the chicken. Give it a few pats to ensure the seasonings stick and plop him in the roasting pan.
This whole process should take you less then 5 minutes to prepare the chicken. Then throw the covered roasting pan into the oven at 375* and wait. I have a convection oven (which decreases cooking time) so it usually takes about 1 1/2 hours. If you have a conventional oven it may take just over 2 hours. When there is about an 1/2 hour of cook time left, go ahead and take a peek. Your chicken should be getting browned and fragrant. I use a meat thermometer to check the doneness of the chicken as it makes a smaller puncture mark, but feel free to cut into the thigh or breast to check for any pink. I try not to make any cuts in the chicken until I am ready to serve it since each cut allows some of the juices to drain out and can result in a less tasty chicken. Unless you go all Edward Scissorhands on it – you should be fine 🙂
There you have it! A perfectly roasted chicken! Like I said, there are 10,000 ways to roast a chicken but this is quick, simple, and works for me EVERY time. I get compliments on it all the time. Below are a few more suggestions of tips I’ve learned along the way…
- If you have fresh herbs – use them. I prefer the flavor of fresh over dried. Just chop/tear them up and add them to the top of the chicken, inside the chicken, and floating in the broth.
- Leave the lid on the roaster once you take it out if the rest of your dishes aren’t ready yet. It will gently steam the chicken and keep it juicy until it is ready to be served.
- Eat the legs and wings on the first night. Leave the chicken breasts for leftovers. (The legs and wings don’t have as much meat as the breast and usually aren’t as tasty the next day.)
- Cover the roasting pan while you eat dinner. Then when you’re done, go back and de-bone the rest of the chicken. That means get as much meat off as you can. I use my hands and nothing else. Once roasted correctly, the chicken will literally fall right off the bone with a quick tug. Do this the night that you cook it. It is much harder to get the meat off the bone the next day.
- Store the leftover chicken with a little bit of the broth from the bottom of the pan.
I usually use the leftover chicken throughout the rest of the week but it can also be stored in ziplock bags and frozen. Some of my favorite “leftover” recipes are listed below.
- BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, Salads, Pizza, or Quesadillas (if you couldn’t tell… I really like BBQ Chicken!)
- Chicken Pot Pie
- Chicken and Noodle Soup
- Chicken Alfredo Pasta
- Chicken Salad Sandwiches
- Chicken Meatballs
- Chicken, Brie, and Green Apple Panini
- Chicken Enchiladas
The list could go on and on but I usually have the groceries on hand to make these dishes! Are you inspired to roast a perfect chicken now? Try it out and let me know how it goes!