Sunday, March 9, 2014

Perfect Roast Chicken

Some days all I want for dinner is a simple roasted chicken. Roasting a chicken is easy, delicious and so satisfying. Opening the oven door and pulling out the finished product, drinking in the smells of a perfectly cooked chicken mixing with lemon, garlic and wine, it doesn't get much better than that. For this recipe you roast the chicken atop a delicious bed of carrots, onion and fennel with thyme, so you don't even have to worry about making a side dish, it's built in! The only other thing you might need is a loaf of fresh bread with salted butter and your meal is complete. Simple, elegant, and wonderful. 

There's a little prep work involved in this meal, but nothing overly difficult or time consuming. A few vegetables to cut up and some chicken prep but that's about it. You can cut the vegetables a day or two in advance if you are thinking ahead to really streamline this meal. I think the whole head of garlic along with fresh lemon and thyme are the perfect trio to stuff the chicken with. Some of my absolute favorite flavors. The whole thing is just a beautiful combination, and a tasty one too!

Perfect Roast Chicken
Adapted from the Food Network
  • 1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
  • 4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
  • Olive oil
  • White wine (if desired)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove the chicken giblets. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside completely 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. Brush the outside of the chicken with the 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 fennel 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. Pour a little of the white wine into the bottom of the pan if desired. 

Roast the chicken for 1 1/4 - 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.

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