Some people get intimidated when they think about roasting a chicken. I know I used to think that roasting a chicken took a lot of work and thought it was best saved for Sunday dinner or special occasions. However, once I realized just how easy it is to make roast chicken, it’s a regular dish in our house. Roast chicken always serves three purposes when I make it: (1) it’s a tasty dinner, (2) it makes tasty leftovers, and (3) I have bones for stock! Just like any chicken dish, you can alter the herbs and flavors to whatever you have on hand or to suit your own preferences.
Super Simple Garlic Herb Roast Chicken
1 whole pastured chicken (3-4 pounds), defrosted if frozen
2 cups carrots, chopped into 1 inch chunks
2 cups celery, chopped into 1 inch chunks
1 sweet onion, chopped into 1 inch chunks
1 lemon, cut into wedges
4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
3 sprigs fresh thyme (I love lemon thyme)
2 bay leaves
melted pastured butter (about 1/4 cup)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Wash and chop all the veggies and set aside. Rinse your chicken, both inside and out. If the chicken comes with giblets, you can save those for gravy or chicken stock.
Once the chicken has been rinsed, pat it dry. You want the skin to be really, really dry. Make sure you dry under the wings and in between the legs and the body. Also, dry out the body cavity if your hand will fit. The less water, the less steam you’ll have and the browner and crispier the skin will be (yum!).
Place the dried chicken in a large baking dish, cast iron frying pan, dutch oven, or other oven safe dish. Place the thyme, bay leaves, lemon wedges, and chopped garlic inside the body cavity. Using a brush or your hands, rub the chicken with some of the melted butter. Generously coat the chicken with sea salt and black pepper. I tend to use 1-2 tsp., of coarse sea salt (use less if you’re using fine ground salt), and about 1 tsp. course ground black pepper. You can always adjust this to suit your tastes. The salt will help keep the skin crispy.
Add the chopped veggies around the chicken and then drizzle the rest of the melted butter over the veggies. Give them a dash of salt and pepper. Place the pan in the oven and reduce the heat to 375.
Cook for 60 minutes and then check the internal temperature. You want the final temperature in the thigh to be 165°. Checking the thigh will give you the most accurate reading. If the temperature is not quite there, return to the oven and cook for another 30-45 minutes, or until it reaches 165°. Total cooking time will depend on your altitude and the amount of veggies surrounding the bird. Since I live in Colorado, my total cooking time is around 2 hours, but the chicken still comes out juicy. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15-20 minutes before cutting.
When you’re done, don’t forget to save the bones for homemade chicken stock!