For my family, weekend activities range from hikes, day trips, and mini vacations to chores and cuddles in front of movies. But wherever the weekend takes us, we always like to close it out with a comforting and warm meal together. For us, the classic roasted chicken is our go-to most Sunday nights. And with cold weather just around the corner, this meal is sure to keep us warm and fuzzy all fall and winter long. And not only do we get a great night of food and conversation around the dinner table but a few days of leftovers and homemade chicken stock as well. What I love about this recipe is that it’s so simple and yet it produces the best tasting chicken ever. No bangs and whistles, just a little herbs, salt, and pepper and you have a dinner your friends will be talking about for months…until Thanksgiving, of course, and then you’re on turkey duty.
Yields 6-8 portions (depending on the size)
- 6-7 lb. whole chicken, preferably organic
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 3 sprigs of thyme
- ¼ tsp. plus 1 tsp. black pepper
- ½ tsp. plus 1 tbsp. salt
One day prior to roasting, remove the chicken from any packaging and place on a paper towel-lined plate and store in the fridge. This crucial step allows the skin to dry out slightly, creating a crispier skin when roasted. And since that is arguably one of the most fought after pieces of the bird, definitely take the time to rest it overnight. On roasting day and two hours prior to cooking, pull the chicken out of the refrigerator and place on the counter to come up to room temperature. If you were to place the cold, refrigerated chicken straight into the oven, certain spots (the cold spots) could take longer to cook than others, resulting in a mishmash of internal cooking temperatures. Letting the chicken come up to room temperature allows each part to cook evenly without drying out one portion of the chicken and undercooking another.
Preheat oven to 475°F. I prefer to roast my chicken at a higher temperature because it prevents the chicken from drying out too fast. The longer the bird hangs out in the oven, the more juices are extracted and evaporated, leaving you with dried out meat. So go high for a juicy chicken. Before trussing the chicken (Don’t worry if you don’t know how! Check out my tips on properly trussing a chicken here.), stuff the cavity with the fresh rosemary and thyme and generously season with ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. black pepper. Truss the chicken properly to ensure even cooking. When the bird is trussed, place in a roasting pan (not necessary, but it does allow for an even cook around the entire chicken) and roast in the oven for about 1 hour, or until the skin is golden brown and the internal temperature is 155°F. Rest the chicken for 15 minutes before carving. (Check out my post on how to carve a whole chicken.) And don’t forget to save the bones for homemade chicken stock!