If you’ve never roasted a whole chicken before, you really should get on that. It’s a super easy, but delicious meal, whether it’s just for two or for a whole family. Plus, everyone will think you’re an amazing cook and be super impressed with you, and who doesn’t enjoy that?
Another great thing about baking a whole chicken, is that usually you’ll end up with leftover chicken meat. This is great for using for the next day’s dinner. You can use it in soups, salads, or my personal favorite, homemade chicken enchiladas!
If you drool on your computer because of this picture, it’s okay. I still love you.
Once all the meat is off, you can even use the carcass of the chicken to make homemade chicken broth. Just boil the chicken carcass and bones in a large pot of water with some chopped carrots, onions, celery, and a couple tablespoons of white vinegar. Once it’s all boiling, turn the heat down, cover the pot, and let it simmer for anywhere from 3 – 7 hours. Basically, the longer you let it simmer, the richer it will taste. When it’s done, strain the broth into a container, seal it, put it in the fridge for an hour or so, then scoop off any fat that’s risen to the top. Put the broth into individual containers (put however much broth you usually use for a single meal into each container), and pop them into the freezer. Easy!
OK, now for actually roasting the chicken!
First thing you want to do is get you chicken out of the fridge, and start pre-heating your oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Reach inside your chicken (try not to be squeamish now), and check if the giblets (your bird’s innards) are there. If they are, pull them out, if they’re not, lucky you!
Rinse the chicken off, inside and out, and pat it dry with some paper towels. Set it aside.
Roughly chop up a couple onions, carrots, and celery sticks, and put them in a roasting pan (or if like me, you don’t have a roasting pan, you can use any baking dish that your bird will fit in. I didn’t have a huge chicken, so mine fit in a square glass baking dish) with 4 – 7 garlic cloves. You can add other veggies if you want, such at potatoes, turnips, brussels sprouts, etc. Just make sure you leave room for the chicken.
Drizzle a little olive oil on the veggies, and a dash of salt and pepper. Toss them a little to coat them, and then place the chicken on top. Rub the inside and outside of the chicken with olive oil, and sprinkle it with some salt and pepper.
Take several bunches of roughly chopped fresh herbs and stick about two-thirds of them inside the chicken, and the rest on top of the chicken and vegetables. If you don’t have any fresh herbs, you can use dried herbs. I used fresh basil, thyme, sage, and rosemary from my container herb garden.
Take two to four more garlic cloves, smash them with the side of your knife, and stuff them inside of the chicken as well.
Take a washed lemon, and poke it several times with a fork. Wrap it in a paper towel and microwave it for about half a minute. Then cut the lemon in half, and stuff each half inside of the chicken. If you don’t have any lemons, just pour a couple tablespoons of lemon juice inside of the chicken, and that should do the trick.
Now place your chicken, uncovered, in the oven and bake for about one to one and a half hours. The baking time will depend on the size of your chicken, but when the top is golden brown, crispy, and delicious looking, you can take it out and check if it’s done. If you have a meat thermometer, stick into the chicken’s inner thigh. The temperature should register to at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). If you don’t have a meat thermometer, cut into the chicken where it’s leg joins with the rest of the body. If the juice is clear, your chicken is done. If it’s pink, and there’s still blood in the juice, then it’s probably not done and should be baked for a while longer.
When your chicken is done, place a sheet of aluminum foil or a tea towel over the pan, and let it rest for about 10 minutes. This will allow the chicken to re-absorb it’s juices, giving you juicier meat. After that, you can use any remaining juice in the pan to make gravy.
Serve your chicken with a salad or steamed green veggie, and some fresh bread or roasted potatoes, and bask in the “ooooh”s and “ahhhhh”s of your admiring family.