The smell of a roast chicken on a Sunday night is one of the nicest smells of home. A simple roast chicken is easy and requires a few seasonings and the oven does the rest. We eat the chicken on one night and then toss in the bones and any leftover meat to make a warming chicken soup the next night. If you don't have time then put all the bones and meat in a Ziploc bag and toss in the freezer until you do have time.
You will need:
- 2 - 3 lb roasting chicken- if you can get free range or organic even better.
- 1 tbsp course salt (more if necessary for inside of bird)
- 1 tsp fresh cracked pepper (more if necessary for inside of bird)
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil (more for vegetables)
- 1 carrot- chopped
- 1 celery stalk- chopped
- 1 onion- chopped
- few sprigs of fresh thyme
- few sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 clementine
- 5-6 cloves of garlic (unpeeled)
- 1/2 cup chicken broth (more if necessary)
Step 1: wash and dry chicken with paper towels.
Step 2: chop carrot, celery and onion into rough chunks. You are making a bed for the chicken to lay on as well as creating flavour that can be turned into a nice little bit of gravy later on. Add the vegetables and fresh herbs to a roasting pan. I like to buy a mix called poultry seasonings in my grocery store (it has fresh thyme, sage, rosemary and parsley all in the same little box) If you have a sunny window you can easily grow your own. Toss everything with a few tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper.
Step 3: place dried chicken on top of vegetables. Rub olive oil all over the outside of the chicken. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt and pepper inside and outside the chicken. I always sprinkle lots of course salt on the skin which makes the chicken skin nice and crispy. Place some fresh herbs in the cavity along with a half of lemon and a half of a clementine or orange.
Step 4: place the chicken in an extremely hot oven. It should be preheated to 500 degrees F. Place the chicken in the oven on the middle rack and immediately turn down the oven to 350 degrees F. I find it will cook for approx 1 1/2 hours until the skin is nice and golden brown. You can buy an inexpensive meat thermometer and insert in the thickest part of the breast just to be sure. It should read 165 degrees F.
Step 5: remove the chicken from the oven and carefully lift the chicken allowing the juices from the inside to run back into the pan. If the chicken is done the juices will run clear. Place the chicken on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. You can leave the chicken to rest for 30 minutes or longer. Some people say that you can leave the chicken to rest as long as you cooked it. This will allow the juices to go back into the meat and you will have a nice moist chicken. If you make a nice gravy from the pan drippings you can serve that blazing hot and your chicken will still be warm enough.