Perfect Roast Chicken For Dummies

Roasting a chicken (or any bird) can be intimidating. I know you’ve heard all the horror stories of dry meat, oven fires and overcooked/under-cooked nightmares. For these reasons, I avoided roasting my own bird for years. It always seemed like a job best left to roasting experts…because “my bird will never turn out as good as theirs”.

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Chicken dummies, (And I was once one too!) I am here to tell you that you are wrong! Roasting chicken is easy! In fact, it’s one of the easiest meals to cook. The key is to keep things simple. And so, I am going to keep this post simple. You can make a deliciously crispy roast chicken seasoned only with salt, pepper and a light drizzle of olive oil. (Yes, really.)

I am posting the recipe I used for a chicken I roasted last week. I picked up a Blue Goose naturally-raised chicken from my local grocery store. Blue Goose raises natural and organic chicken, cattle and fish and believes in the humane processing of animals. It was my first Blue Goose purchase and it was DELICIOUS, so I have to say that I do recommend this company. You are what you eat, so you should eat well and buy meat that is raised and processed in the right environment.

20140502-110217.jpgIt took me 15 minutes to prep the chicken, an hour and a half in the oven and 15 minutes to let it rest before I carved it. The most work you’ll do is cut up a few stalks of celery and some carrots. No big deal. Your oven will do all the work for you! 🙂

My chicken-roasting rules:
Follow these simple rules and you’ll be sure to make a yummy chicken.

1. Always pat raw chicken dry with paper towel before seasoning. You need your chicken to be dry, not wet!

2. Fill the bottom of your roasting tray with cut vegetables. A combination of celery, onions, garlic and any root vegetables. Your chicken will sit over this bed of veggies to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the tray, allow room for drippings and even cooking. Not only will the veggies add some flavour to your bird, they will cook in the drippings which will make a lovely gravy/sauce.

3. Stuff the chicken with veggies, fruits and herbs for extra flavour. Fresh herbs work best and can include rosemary, parsley, sage, oregano, bay leaves…any herbs can work! Citrus fruits like lemon or orange can add a nice flavour twist. If you don’t have fruit or herbs lying around, just some onion and garlic will do. Use more of the same veggies you lay in the bottom of the tray!

4. Keep your seasoning simple. I season generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and drizzle a little olive oil over top. That’s it!

5. Roast your chicken uncovered. That’s what will get you a delicious crispy, browned skin. Baste once, halfway through, with the juices from the bottom of the pan. (Sometimes I baste two or three times.)

6. Cook an average sized chicken (about 3 to 3.5 pounds) for about an hour and fifteen minutes at 400 degrees. After cooking, cover chicken in tinfoil and let rest 15 minutes before carving and serving.

7. Never throw away the bones and carcass! You can make delicious broth or soup afterwards! I’ll show you how in another post. 🙂

Lemon Parsley Roast Chicken
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken, be sure all innards are removed from the cavity
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1-2 carrots peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2-3 stalks celery washed and cut into large chunks
  • 4-5 cloves garlic cut into halves
  • 1-2 green onions, roughly chopped or cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, washed
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • About 2 tablespoons olive oil to drizzle

** Any other root veggies can be added to line bottom of roasting pan

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Take chicken out of packaging, place on a clean plate and pat dry with paper towels. There is no need to wash your chicken.
*Never use the same plates, cutlery, knives, cutting board etc. for raw and cooked meat. Once your chicken is cooked, use clean dishes and utensils!

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3. Wash, peel and chop all veggies as indicated in the ingredients. Toss the quartered onion, garlic, celery, carrots and any other root vegetable(s) you might want to add into the bottom of the roasting pan.

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4. Season chicken generously with kosher salt and black pepper. Top and bottom of bird.

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5. Squeeze the lemon halves over the chicken and then stuff the cavity of the bird with parsley, garlic, green onion and the lemon you just squeezed. Try to cram as much as you can in there.

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6. Place chicken in roasting pan, breast side up.

7. Tuck the wings under the bird so they don’t burn while cooking and tie the ends of the legs together with kitchen twine or string.

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8. Drizzle olive oil evenly over the chicken. I like to finish it off with a little more salt and pepper.

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9. Put tray in oven on centre rack uncovered.

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10. Cook for about 1 hour and fifteen minutes. Baste the chicken half way through with juices from the bottom of the tray. (Use a brush or baster to pour/brush the juices from the bottom of the pan over the bird to keep it moist.) I usually baste more if I have the time. Keeps it moist! 🙂
* Add a bit of water to the tray if the veggies start to burn or look dry. This will also create more liquid for basting.

11. Skin of chicken should golden brown and crispy. Remove from oven, cover with tinfoil and let rest for 15 minutes.

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12. Carve and enjoy! 🙂

You could use the drippings from the roasting pan to make gravy by transferring to a small saucepan, adding a bit of water and simmering. Add flour to thicken the sauce if necessary. You can leave the veggies in for flavour, or even puree them into the gravy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Hopefully, after reading this post, you’ll never buy a store-roasted chicken again. I cannot stress how easy this is! Happy roasting! XO

Send me pics of your roasted birds and let me know how it went!

9 thoughts on “Perfect Roast Chicken For Dummies

  1. I’m salivating, this looks delicious! I think I might be picking up a raw chicken soon and giving this a try. I’ve made epic Thanksgiving Turkey before but I don’t usually bother with making chickens for… uh… I’m sure I have a reason in there somewhere… 🙂

    • Haha, thanks Lyle! I totally know what you mean. Roasting chickens is something I feel like people just…don’t do. (Or don’t do enough anyway.) I love making turkeys too! Just think of the chickens as smaller, easier (and usually juicier) projects. Totally worth it for a yummy dinner. And then make soup with the bones! 🙂

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