Roast chicken is one of the basic dishes that everyone should learn how to cook. While it is tempting to reach for the prepared rotisserie chicken at the deli, roast chicken is pretty easy to make, will taste better, and is good practice for when you need to prepare turkey for the holidays.
Engagement Chicken for hopeful brides to showcase their cooking talents for their intended so this makes a great easy dish for a romantic meal.
There are probably as many good roast chicken recipes and tips as there are cooks, and perhaps even chickens, which can make it really confusing for beginners. To add more confusion we really don’t “roast” chickens in the oven anymore–like our ancestors over an open fire–we bake them.
Easy Roast Chicken Dinner
- 1 whole chicken 3 lbs is ample for 2-3 people
- 2 tbsp. EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
- 2 large lemons,
- 2 pinches kosher salt
- 1 pinch freshly ground pepper
- 3 large carrots
- 3 large parsnips
- 3 medium potatoes omit for keto lifestyle
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup fresh herbs rosemary, sage, thyme, flat-leaf parsley.
- 2 tsp. Dried herbs of your choosing (optional)
- 2 tbsp. softened butter (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Prepare the root vegetables you have on hand. Ensure they are clean, but you don’t need to peel. There are nutrients in the peel which otherwise would get lost. Roughly chop into large chunks. Place into a roasting pan* which should have a grill rack. If not, you can simply pace the chicken on top of the vegetables. Pour a little EVOO on the vegetables, add the garlic and toss in fresh herbs. We love rosemary in our house.
- Remove the giblets from the chicken and wipe down the chicken with paper towels. Rub with EVOO and salt and pepper. Be careful not to contaminate your salt and pepper mills. You can also rub other dried herbs you have on hand (rosemary, thyme, Herbes de Provence).
- Gently separate the breast skin from meat on each side with your fingers or a spatula. Insert lemon slices and some fresh herbs which will help flavor the bird and keep the moisture in. Alternatively, you can rub a little softened butter, again between the skin and the actual breast meat. Go wild and do both.
- Steaming the chicken from the inside out: lemon does a great job of moisturizing the chicken from the inside out. Depending on the size of the chicken, either cut the lemon in half, or prick a whole lemon and stuff it in to the cavity.
- Place in the oven, uncovered. As a general rule, calculate a cooking time of 20 minutes per pound of meat. The temperature of the chicken needs to be 165° -170°F.
- Remove from your roasting pan and cover with tin foil and get your table setting ready. You need to let the poor bird rest for 20 minutes to let the juices settle into the meat. If you cut it too soon, you will see all the flavour on your cutting board.
- You may be tempted to make gravy, but you really don’t need it and your doctor will thank you for it. You can use a fat separator to take the fat off and serve the juices on the side to your family/guests.
- Carve the chicken and serve with your roasted vegetables.
How to Carve A Chicken
- The chicken should be placed on a carving board which has that little nice moat to catch any juices, but make do with what you have on hand. Use a sharp carving knife and fork if you have one, or use a kitchen fork and sharp knife.
- Cut the legs and thighs off first: carefully cut down between the leg and the breast, cut through the joint and pull the leg off. Repeat on the other side. You further separate the leg from the thigh by cutting through the joint.
- Cut off the breasts: angle the knife along the breastbone and carve one side off, then the other. If you want to make smaller portions, or have cooked a large chicken, cut the breast into smaller portions. Place the cut breast piece cut side down and slice smaller diagonal strips across the breast.
- Save the carcass to make chicken stock/chicken soup.
- Picking Chicken: Picking a good chicken at your butcher or grocer is a great start to get the best results. Certified Organic tops the charts if you can find/afford, air-chilled is a good choice, and kosher is great because the process of salt brining kills bacteria and enhances the flavour.
- Safe Prepping: the spread of harmful bacteria is particularly evident in chicken and other fowl. Make sure you disinfect your work surfaces as you go. It is actually safer to forego the step when advised to wash the chicken before baking. So just check inside the bird for giblets, cut away excess fat.
- Weighing In to Put it In: Save that label or use a scale. You need to know the weight of the bird in order to calculate when to put it in for dinner. Cookipedia UK has a great online calculator which back tracks when to put the bird in based on when you want to eat.
- The Best Breast: Some cooks will start the chicken in the oven breast down, but then you have to fuss and right him/her half way through. My trick is to add lemon slices or butter between the skin and the chicken breast.
- Magic Number is 165° -170°F: Use an instant-read thermometer as your most reliable indicator of doneness. It should read 165° to 170°F when inserted into the thickest part of the chicken (aim for the inner thigh), Otherwise you look for clean running juices when you prick with a knife.
- Give it a Rest: A trick to ensure the chicken stays moist, let your chicken rest, covered with tin foil for 15 - 20 minutes which allows the juices to absorb.