Roasted Chicken is one of my specialties and is a carnivore indulgence that I take very seriously. Only the finest birds cross the threshold of my oven. Of all meats, chicken is one that you should be most discerning with and it is worth the extra money. I insist on a chicken that is, free range, organic, antibiotic free, steroid free and air chilled. I like to refer to them as “top shelf” chickens. Whole Food meat counter or a local farmer are the most reliable sources for a top shelf chicken. I verify with the butcher that it is best chicken they have almost reenacting Portlandia. “Did the chicken have many friends?”
One weekend I did a taste test roasting a regular name brand chicken from the super market and an organic top shelf chicken from my farmer’s market. The taste difference was astounding. My sister still raves that the farmer’ market chicken was the best chicken she ever tasted.
Top shelf chickens are smaller. They generally come in the 3-4 pound range, have brighter natural skin color and the dark meat is much darker. All of these traits are due to a lack of steroids and the increased exercise that a “top shelf” chicken experiences in it’s lifetime. Trust me, this is the way mother nature intended chickens to look. Not yellow and pumped up like a body builder.
Despite a “top shelf” chicken’s much healthier upbringing, food safety still needs to be taken into consideration. Make sure to prep everything first and don’t touch the chicken until you are ready to work. I mix olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl so that I don’t have to touch the bottles or spices after I have touched the chicken.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 onions, quartered
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 3 springs of thyme
- 2 springs of rosemary
- 1 whole chicken, 3-4 pounds
- 10 inches kitchen twine (optional)
- 3 russet potatoes, cubed
- 3 medium carrots, cubed
- 1 onion, large chop
- (or any combination of your favorite hardy root vegetables)
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 teaspoons kosher salt to taste
- ½-1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. A roasting pan with a rack insert works best. A deep dish glass or oven safe pan will also work.
- *I like to roast vegetables in the bottom of the pan with the chicken. If you choose to cook root vegetables, place cut vegetables in the bottom of the roasting pan first and coat with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. If using a roasting pan with a rack, place roasting rack over vegetables.
- Mix olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl and set aside. Prep remaining ingredients and set aside. Cut length of kitchen twine and set aside with other ingredients. (If you don’t have kitchen twine, your chicken will cook just fine. The legs may be a bit drier.) Double check that everything is placed close to the roasting pan. (Remove any rings or jewelry from your hands.)
- Open chicken in sink and remove trimmings from cavity that may come with the chicken. Rinse chicken inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels. Place dry chicken directly on roasting rack, oven pan, or directly on vegetables with the breast up.
- Using your hands massage oil, salt and pepper mix all over chicken and in the cavity. Stuff remaining ingredients inside of the chicken. Depending on the size of the chicken cavity adjust the amount of onion and lemon pieces stuffed into cavity to ensure all garlic, thyme and rosemary fit inside. Tie legs of chicken together with kitchen twine.
- Place in the oven and roast for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes (20 minutes pound is a good rule of thumb) or until a quick read thermometer placed in the joint of the leg registers at least 165 degrees. *If you are roasting the chicken with vegetables, roast for 45 minutes then move vegetables around bottom of the pan to prevent burning, and roast for another 45 minutes.
- Throughly wash your sink after cleaning up from the raw chicken to prevent cross contamination.
- Remove pan from oven and allow chicken to rest on counter top. Carve chicken as desired ensuring juices run clear. Serve vegetables on the side.