You know what I never really envisioned loving to cook? A whole freaking roast chicken! Ok, I didn’t butcher it so technically it’s missing some parts, but BASICALLY a whole freaking chicken. Standing in the poultry aisle, it is tempting to reach for the nicely trimmed breasts or thighs and sometimes that’s great. However, I am here to tell you that a whole chicken is where it’s at. Before you ask, yes, you will have to reach your hand inside of a chicken and yes, using it for a macabre puppet show will be hilarious and is a creative way to impress your guests (follow me for more hot hosting tips).
Now, stop laughing at your own antics and settle in. This chicken is your canvas and you’re going to use your garlic butter hand paint to make a drool-worthy work of art. But slow down, Jack, first you’ll need to give it a quick rinse in some cool water, inside and out, then pat it dry with a paper towel. Any deep, oven safe baking dish, that is large enough to fit your chicken, will work for this recipe. Depending on the material of your cooking vessel, you may wish to cover its bottom with a layer of aluminum foil or spray it lightly with oil before adding the chicken, breast side up.
Preparing the chicken
This is a simple recipe, which really benefits from some fresh herbs. Rosemary, thyme, and sage are all excellent additions to the garlic butter. If you don’t have any fresh herbs, have no fear, dry herbs will also work. This is where that hand painting comes in. So Jack, it’s your time to shine. Slather that poultry with butter, ensuring that you get both over and under the skin, as well as inside the cavity. This is the only step that gives me pause, but I swear it will feel less uncomfortable each time you do it. Or maybe you already like this step, in which case…you do you. At this point, if you have fresh herbs, place a few sprigs in the cavity.
Cooking the chicken
Next, you’ll want to give your poultry friend a few hearty squeezes of lemon – no scurvy here folks. Finally, use some kitchen twine to tie the legs together. Cook the roast chicken at 425 °F for about 1 1/4 hours, or until an internal temperature of 165 °F is reached. Once or twice during the cooking process, baste the chicken. Let the chicken rest for 15 or 20 minutes after cooking before diving in.
How to use your roast chicken
Serve the sliced roast chicken with a grain of choice and a vegetable on the side. I like quinoa or wild rice with this meal. Sweet potatoes, roasted broccoli, asparagus, or Brussel sprouts are all great vegetable choices.
The meals don’t stop here though. My favorite part about cooking a whole chicken is that it provides at least three different meals for us. Trim off extra meat and save it to use for chicken tacos, add to soups and ramen, or to top a strawberry balsamic salad. It still doesn’t end there. After stripping the meat, simmer the rest of the chicken with vegetable scraps to make homemade chicken stock. It is a true low-waste miracle (can I get a Hallelujah). On that note, there’s really no time to lose; go forth and cook whole freaking chickens.
Succulent Garlic Butter Roasted Chicken
- 4 lb whole chicken no giblets or removed
- 4-5 sprigs fresh herbs-rosemary and/or thyme optional
- 1/2 lemon
- 3 tbsp butter softened
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary and/or thyme or 1/2 tsp dried
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 425°F
- Combine all garlic butter ingredients in a small bowl
- Rinse the inside and outside of the chicken briefly with cool water
- Pat chicken dry with paper towels
- Lightly oil or place a layer of aluminum foil in a baking or roasting dish
- Add chicken to the dish, breast side up
- Coat chicken with garlic butter, making sure to get butter both on and under the skin, as well as in the cavity
- Add fresh herbs to cavity (optional) and squeeze lemon over chicken
- Use kitchen twine to tie chicken legs together
- Roast chicken for about 1 ¼ hours, until a meat thermometer reads 165°F, basting 1-2 times during cooking
- Allow chicken to rest 15-20 minutes before slicing