I have brought back my Tips-y Tuesdays for a brief showing (see, I said they weren’t gone forever!). This is one of those posts inspired by my mom and her lack of proper recipes for favorite dishes. Roast chicken is the kind of dish that your mom might have made for you over and over, and you even watched and/or sometimes helped…and yet…you somehow miss some of the details. When my mom passed away, my dad and I tried to recreate the version she would make. I have not gotten it exactly the way she did, but I think I have gotten it pretty close. In some ways, I have maybe even improved. And, with all of this practice, my husband has also gotten practice carving chickens. He used to complain that he had to carve it, and that rotisserie chickens could be cheaper at the store, but he is starting to come around to my side of things. He knows that I prefer cooking to buying premade stuff, but there are other bonuses, like the smell of the house while it’s cooking, the vegetables that sit underneath and soak up the yummy chicken-ness, and the endless leftovers.
So, this is not a formal recipe, but it provides some direction.
Directions for Roasting a Chicken
- 1 whole chicken (approximately 5-6 pounds is great for 3-4 people, giblets removed)
- Vegetables to roast (e.g., parsnips, carrots, mushrooms, onions, leeks, green beans, celery, turnips, potatoes, etc.)
- Herbs (fresh ones are good, but dried work as well; the most popular are thyme and rosemary)
- Butter/butter alternative, room temperature (softened)
- Olive oil
- All-purpose seasoning
- Salt and Pepper
- 1/2 a lemon
- 1/2 an onion
- Chicken bouillon
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare your roasting pan. Start by cutting all of the vegetables into pieces. Vegetables that cook quickly should be cut in bigger pieces than those that take longer. Toss the vegetables lightly with the all-purpose seasoning and olive oil. Place the vegetables around the roasting rack in the bottom of the pan.
Take the softened butter and mix it with some dried herbs, salt, and pepper. Rub the mixture under the skin of the bird, concentrating particularly on the breasts. Use the extra to lightly rub the outside. Any remaining bits can be dropped on top of the vegetables. Place the lemon and onion inside of the chicken. Put the chicken breast side down on the roasting rack and place some dried or fresh herbs on top. Pour about 1 cup of water into the pan. Bake for about 2 hours, checking the chicken and vegetables occasionally. When the chicken is finished, remove it from the pan and allow it to rest for at least 5-10 minutes before carving it. Meanwhile, stir some flour into some water and pour it, along with some chicken bouillon into the pan. Place the pan back in the oven while the chicken rests. Pull back out and stir, scraping up any bits. The vegetable mixture should be a bit saucy, but not too liquidy. Serve with the carved chicken.
Another hint for carving chicken…if you don’t have a nice platter for cutting the chicken on, using a baking sheet with edges works well for us. Just be sure it’s not a fancy non-stick one that you can’t get some knife marks on.