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Roast Chicken

April 1, 2012


For me, roasted chicken is the ultimate comfort food.  My Mom always made roasted chicken the first night I was home during college breaks and it just feels like home on plate to me.  I have made this so many times I could probably do it in my sleep!

Yesterday was a rainy, dreary day and Conrad has a a nasty cold so I knew roasted chicken was the perfect dinner.  It was a long week and we both were in need of something warm and comforting.

I like to roast onions and carrots underneath the chicken for a built-in side dish.  The fat and juices from the chicken drip down and they get crisp and delicious.  Sometimes I think I might even like the roasted onions and carrots more than the chicken!  Not really, but it’s a close call.  Obviously the better quality chicken you buy, the better it will taste.  I use free range or organic chickens and the smaller the chicken, the better, because it means they weren’t fed hormones or anything else to bulk up.  If you need to serve a large group, roast two 3-pound chickens side-by-side using the same method.

I get everything all ready before I open the chicken package and wash it to avoid having to keep washing my hands or contaminating the kitchen with the raw chicken.  First I put the carrots and onions in the roasting pan and get them all ready.  Then,  I put plenty of salt and freshly ground pepper into separate small dishes, melt the butter and cut a piece of kitchen twine.  Don’t forget to take out a brush for the butter.  Everything is all ready to go on a cutting board so once the chicken is washed, I stuff it, put it in the roasting pan and pop it in the oven in one fell swoop.


Today, I picked up some beautiful purplish-red carrots to roast along with the onions…aren’t they beautiful?


Roast Chicken
adapted from Ina Garten

one 3-4 pound whole chicken
1 large handful fresh thyme
1 lemon, quartered
1 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 yellow onions, sliced into 1/2″ slices
4 medium-large carrots, cut into 2″ pieces and halved or quartered crosswise if very thick

1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.  Scatter onions and carrots in the bottom of a roasting pan.  Sprinkle with some kosher salt, a few grinds of pepper and olive oil.  Toss with your hands to combine.  If your roasting pan has a rack, set rack on top of vegetables.

Remove giblets and neck if stuffed in the cavity.  Wash the inside and out of the chicken and pat dry.  Tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.  Sprinkle salt and pepper liberally in the cavity of the chicken.  Stuff with thyme, garlic and lemons.  You should be able to fit everything but you may need to leave out one quarter of the lemon if it’s a small chicken.  Sprinkle the outside of the chicken with more salt and pepper.  Tie the legs together with kitchen twine.  Brush chicken with melted butter.

Roast the chicken for about 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes.  The chicken is ready when the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh.  Remove chicken to a cutting board and cover with foil.  If you like your vegetables extra crispy, give them a stir and put them back into the oven for 5-10 minutes while the chicken rests.

Carve chicken and serve with roasted carrots and onions.


Here’s the chicken all ready for the oven:

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