Cooking · Dinner

Perfect Roast Chicken

I love roasting chickens. I only recently discovered this easy (yes, easy) dinner. I used to think roasting a chicken meant slaving away all day, basting repeatedly. Not so. A few minutes of prep and then into the oven it goes. No work required for an hour and a half while it cooks. Just think of all things you could do in that amount of time! Read some books to the kids, do the dishes, fold some laundry, paint your nails, get some sun in the front yard while eating strawberries from a bowl. I highly recommend that last one. You should try it some time. It’s amazing. Then you come back inside high on vitamin D to the delicious smell of a roasted chicken. There is not a better way to spend an afternoon.

This chicken is well-flavored with butter, lemon and garlic. Stuffed inside the chicken roughly chopped, the flavor makers require almost zero prep. As far as the veggies around the chicken go, feel free to use baby carrots if you want to cut out the step of cutting up whole ones. I found a tip for cutting your onions recently that I just have to share. I used to just cut my onions up into big chunks, but inevitably they would separate while roasting and I’d just have little bits of onion. If you cut the end off your onion like this – cutting it all the way off, but not so high up the onion that you separate the hard part that binds the end:

Cutting the Onion

And then cut the other end off, slice in half lengthwise, then into quarters and eights lengthwise – the end that you barely cut will hold the chunks together instead of all the layers just coming apart during cooking. You can see the onion 8th still intact in the next picture of the finished chicken w/veggies. Dead center of the photo at the bottom. See? See the dark part at the very end of it? That’s the key…keep that part attached so you get nice chunks of oven roasted onion. Yuuuuummmy!

Perfect Roast Chicken

Perfect Roast Chicken (adapted from Ina Garten)

1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chickenSaltFreshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs (dried thyme can be substituted)
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter (melt 2 tablespoons)
1 large yellow onion, cut into 8 chunks
4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
5 red potatoes, quartered
Olive oil


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic.

Poke one finger under the breast skin at opening of the chicken. Wiggle around until the skin is separated from the meat. Repeat on other breast. Rub 1 T of butter underneath the skin on each side of the chicken breast. Brush the outside of the chicken with the melted butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the onions, carrots, and potatoes in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.

Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.


4 thoughts on “Perfect Roast Chicken

  1. Looks and sounds so wonderful, I can already picture my boys gobbling it up before my husband and I can even sit down at the table. (Okay, they’re not that ill-mannered, but they are teenagers – you get the idea, right?) So, do you have any suggestions for how long I’d have to cook two chickens this way at once?

    1. Yeah – teenagers. They are bottomless pits. When mine get to be that age, they’ll be bottomless Pitts. 🙂 If you have a large roasting pan, you can do two chickens at the same time and the cook time should be the same. I’ve roasted two at a time without having to alter the cook time. Double check that your juices are running clear when you remove them. If you don’t have a pan big enough that the chickens can sit next to each other without touching, I wouldn’t suggest cooking them together.

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