You guys, this was seriously so good! I had to give myself a pat on the back when I took my first bite...it was that good, and SO easy!
We eat a lot of chicken. I mean, a lot. So, I'm always trying to come up with new recipes to change it up. We love doing whole chickens in Chandler's smoker (let me know if you want those recipes or would like to see a "Smoked Chicken" blog), but I've never roasted a whole chicken. I came across a sale at Aldi before we left on vacation and decided it was my chance! I threw it in the freezer and popped it out to thaw the day we came home. Since a chicken is so much smaller than a turkey it thaws within a few hours/over night, unlike a turkey which takes days, so when you catch them on sale -- grab them up and stick it in the freezer!
So, without further ado, here's what I came up with for my Herb Roasted Chicken:
Chicken Basics -- Be sure to pull the bag of "insides" [insert gag here], rinse off and pat dry. I also went ahead and cut the tie around the legs, but this is up to you and really depends on the size -- if it's larger, it's best to keep them tied together during the cooking process.
Herb Butter -- As you will later learn in my "Holiday Cooking Guide", a homemade herb butter is the secret sauce to any roasted bird. When possible, use fresh herbs! I was pressed for time so I just used what I had in the pantry. You can play around with the spices to make it what you want, but this is what I used in this recipe:
1/2 stick salted butter, softened
1/2T minced garlic
1 tsp rubbed sage
1/2T onion powder
1 tsp ground thyme
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all together and allow to firm back up a bit, but still spreadable.
You can use a roasting pan for this or a cast iron skillet, it should come to no surprise I used one of my Lodge skillets, covering the bottom in olive oil (helps prevent sticking); if you use a roasting pan be sure to spray the rack with Pam. Place your chicken in the center and apply the herb butter - UNDER and over the skin!
Apply Herb Butter -- You will notice you can pull back the skin above the cavity opening. Be very careful not to rip the skin, you will need to gently pull it up, then either with your fingers or a soft spatula spread the herb butter down around the breasts. Once you have the butter under the skin apply whats left on top of the skin, over the breasts, wings, legs, etc (don't worry about the bottom). If you have any left over, place it into the cavity. Sprinkle paprika over the top for an added flavor boost and beautiful brown color.
Stuff the Cavity -- You can get really playful here. I love to add lemon, apple, onion, celery, etc. Since we had just returned from vacation I didn't have some of my staples, so I used the following:
1/2 Medium Onion
2 Celery ribs (halved)
Fresh Basil leaves
1tsp minced galic
2 apple slices
Dress Up the Skillet -- Fourth the remaining onion and place around the chicken in the skillet along with fresh basil leaves. If you have room and want to add you can also add a slice or two of apple/lemon as well.
Cook! -- Place in the oven at 400º for approx. 40 minutes. The time to cook will depend greatly on how large your chicken is, the general rule of thumb is 15 minutes per pound. Use a meat thermometer to make sure it has registered (check in the thicket part of the thigh) 165º. Once you have removed the chicken from oven LET IT REST for at least 10 minutes; this allows the juices to settle.
Pair it with a hot skillet of cornbread and fresh veggies!
That's it! Super easy and often times cheaper than a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Let me know how yours turns out and what herbs you used!