When I first started getting my food share about a year ago, I had never really cooked meat(since I was a vegetarian for about 7 years) and I thought it was super gross in its raw form(which I still do haha). But I signed up for a chicken share because I was trying to introduce more meat into my diet and wanted only meat produced locally, humanely, and without hormones. Unfortunately, this meant I didn’t get to choose what type of chicken I got each week and I got a whole roasting chicken the first week. I had never cooked a whole bird before and spent about a day on the internet looking up and comparing different recipes, watching tutorials about how to cook this thing, and calling my mom and sister every step of the way to make sure I was doing everything correctly. And guess what? It turned out perfectly.Since then I have made at least 15 roasted chickens and have learned not to worry so much. This is one of the easiest things ever to prepare and basically just requires a little basting before going into the oven and then you can forget about it for an hour or so while it cooks. Really the hardest part is cutting the thing after it’s done cooking. Here is my very simple recipe for getting a perfect roasted chicken every time.
- Whole chicken
- Butter(or olive oil)
- salt(about 1 tsp)
- pepper(about 1/2 tsp)
- garlic powder(about 1/2 tsp)
- OPTIONAL: Lemon slices
- Preheat your oven to 400°FNOTE: Many recipes say put your oven to 425°F, but I find that this causes the skin on my chicken to burn before the chicken inside is cooked, so I like to roast my chicken at a lower temperature for a little longer to get a crisp skin without it burning.
- Remove the giblets from your chicken(if there are any) and set aside for later or throw away. If there are any excess fatty parts or if your chicken comes with the neck attached you will want to remove that now.
- Wash the chicken thoroughly and pat dry with a paper towel.
- The way to get the juiciest most flavorful chicken is to place your butter/olive oil underneath the skin of the chicken like the picture below. This may require that you pull the skin of the chicken away from the meat so if you don’t want to do this you can just place the butter on top of the chicken.
- You will also want to put some butter on the back of your chicken/in the bottom of your roasting pan(I don’t actually have a roasting pan so I usually use a ceramic dish that fits my chicken perfectly) so that your chicken doesn’t stick to the bottom.
- Season your chicken on all sides with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder. If you want a lemon garlic chicken place a few lemon slices on the bottom of your pan and on the top of your bird.
- Lay the chicken on it’s back in the pan so the legs are sticking up and stick it on the middle shelf of the preheated oven.NOTE: It is important to put this as close to the middle of your oven as possible to ensure even heating.
- Cook the bird for 1-1 1/2 hours or until a meat thermometer stuck in the thickest part( I usually check the breast and the thigh) reads 165°F and/or the juices run clear if you make a small cut between the leg and the body.
- Remove the bird from the oven and let it cool for 15-20mins or until you can handle it without burning yourself.
- Carve the bird(this is a great tutorial if you have never carved a bird before) and serve the bird as is or use the meat in a lot of different recipes(like buffalo chicken). Make sure to save the bones/carcass to make chicken stock(recipe here)!
It is difficult to give the serving size, number of servings, and nutrition data here because it will vary based on what part of the chicken you are eating, how large your chicken is and if you are removing the skin or not, so I am omitting it here. In general the white meat will be leaner and have fewer calories, while the dark meat will be a bit more savory and fattier.