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Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The Best Roast Chicken You'll Ever Have

Whenever I eat roast chicken, I remember the book A Year in Provence, where Peter Mayle talks about how his friends would invite him to a leisurely outdoor lunch every Sunday, featuring lemony roast chicken and lots of wine. Herbed, moist, almost buttery--roast chicken can be such a treat, as well as a perfect weeknight meal. Here, the genius Caitlin from Roost shares her favorite roast chicken recipe...

The Best Roast Chicken You'll Ever Have
By Caitlin Van Horn from Roost


If there's one dish that has faithfully remained on my weekly meal rotation, it's a roasted chicken. For years I feared making my own, usually resorting to the over-cooked and unfortunately dry store-bought rotisserie chickens. It wasn't so much the uneasiness of working with a raw chicken that kept me from roasting myself but rather the superfluous task of trussing. I could never figure it out, and, although I understand that it's aesthetically pleasing, I find that simply tying the legs together is more than efficient. No wrapping, tucking, or twisting; a simple tie around the legs is all you need to keep your bird from "spreading eagle." Or is it "spreading chicken"?

Moving on. This recipe I share with you today needs to be engrained on your brain. It is so simple, and I find its effortlessness is what makes it such a flavorful and succulent bird. The addition of fresh herbs such as thyme, marjoram, rosemary and lavender lends a beautiful fragrance, while lemon and garlic infuse the meat, leaving it perfectly moist.

Unlike the most beloved Thanksgiving turkey, a small chicken can roast in less than an hour. No brining, basting or flipping required. In addition to this dish being deliciously simple it is a fabulous way to impress your family and friends. They will think you slaved away in the kitchen preparing such a feast, but don’t worry: your secret is safe with me. Enjoy!

Recipe: The Best Roast Chicken You'll Ever Have

You'll need:
3-4 lb free range chicken, giblets removed (mine came with the giblets already removed; you can ask the butcher to remove them, if you wish)
1 lemon, cut in half
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp fresh marjoram, chopped
1 tbsp fresh culinary lavender, chopped (I used Jacobs Farm green lavender which is picked just before it flowers; they sell it at most Whole Foods stores)
Salt and pepper

Rinse chicken under cold water and pat dry. It is very important that you dry it well; any excess water will turn to steam in the oven and prevent the skin from getting nice and crispy.

Insert lemon, garlic, sprigs of thyme and rosemary in the cavity of the bird, and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.

Using your fingers, massage the butter all over the skin of the bird. Any excess can be rubbed under the skin of the breasts.

Sprinkle the chopped herbs all over the bird, and generously dash with salt and a lot of pepper.

Let chicken sit for one hour until it's about room temperature.

While the bird is coming to room temperature, remove the middle rack in your oven and preheat to 450F. Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or roasting pan into the oven while it preheats.

When oven is ready carefully remove roasting skillet/pan, and place the chicken, breast side up, into the pan. Return pan to oven and roast for 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165F when inserted into the thickest part of the bird (the breast).

(Note: If you have a larger bird, you may need to increase the ingredients and roasting time.)
Thank you so much, Caitlin!

P.S. More best-of recipes, including chocolate banana bread and a lazy egg sandwich.

(Photos by Caitlin from Roost; thanks to Shoko for help with this series)

86 comments:

.Tinacious Me. said...

oh my, this looks so good!
xo, Tina
TINACIOUS.ME ~ TINACIOUS.ME

AVY said...

Nothing like a dead roasted animal. Seriously, how can anyone be a vegetarian?

/ Avy
http://MyMotherFuckedMickJagger.blogspot.com



Sage Crown Parker said...

this looks amazing!
really the only reason i grow rosemary is for moments like this one:)

Nancy said...

My mainstay is always Mark Bittman's Basic Roast Chicken from How to Cook Everything. It comes out perfect everytime! :) However, I might have enter this recipe into the line-up because it looks so good! Good thing it's lunchtime, because I just got hungry.

Pia Zwegers said...

Happy Wednesday morning, Joanna!

Roast chicken is actually on the menu for next week for us... this post just got me even more excited to make it. Hope that you're having a great day :)

Kind regards,
-Pia

Lauren said...

The hardest part for me is "carving" or cutting up the chicken after it's cooked. I basically massacre the thing trying to cut the legs and breasts. Some simple tips on this would be great!

Erin said...

I'm reading that book right now! Boyfriend bought it for me for Christmas! Thanks for the recipe, too bad I'm a mess in the kitchen. xo

Olya said...

Good morning!

With Easter coming up - this is PERFECT!!! Thanks so much!

OLya

www.livingnotesfromnyc.com

auste said...

Before my boyfriend (now husband) and I moved into together, my mother pulled out her Martha Stewart cookbook, flipped to the roast chicken recipe and said, "You can't live with a man until you can roast a perfect chicken".... Needless to say, I learned quick, and we've been happily living together ever since :) I can't wait to try this recipe!

Fancy Pants said...

Drool!!
And I totally agree. Roasting a chicken on Sunday night is a great way to have a nice meal then and throughout the week:)

JEREMYandCHELSEA said...

I love your "best of..." series. Makes me drool every time!

Andrea said...

yum! will definitely have to try this out. beautiful presentation.

Valerie - all mussed up said...

I adore her gothic style photography.

We're mostly vegetarian chez nous, but an ethically sourced roast chicken once a month is a true pleasure. It also provides enough stock for 3 soups.

Lost in Provence said...

I live in France and can say that this puts most roast chickens to shame! It is the fresh herbs that does it. Yum. Just made roast chickie the other night otherwise I would go put one in the oven right now...

I love this "best" series!

Anna said...

This is simply beautiful food! Sometimes, even when the recipe in itself sounds just alright, the picture just overwhelms you completely!

Anna ~Moments of Libra

rachelb said...

Joanna! Thank you for the Best Food recipes... i have loved all of them!

Nikki Fein said...

Just made this a few days ago, so good. A Year in Provence is one of my favorite books. I read it a few years ago while living in the north of France wishfully dreaming about living in the south of France/Provence. Now, having lived in the south/Provence for the last 2 years, I can definitely attest to how slow things get done down here. But its a trade off I'll happily take.

Diana Mieczan said...

It looks super scrumptious and the photos are amazing:) Kisses. Wish you both a great day. xo

Nik at boldgoods.com said...

My husband and I do a roast chicken almost every Monday night. It's a great way to have a few different good lunches.
The number one tip is stuffing the chicken with a cut-up lemon - so don't be scared if you don't have all those fresh herbs! Salt and pepper are fine! Also, I only get Kosher or Organic chickens.

Melissa Blake said...

ooooh, chicken is just one of those feel-good foods! :)

Martie* said...

This looks very delish! So far my favorite roast chicken recipe was the "Engagement chicken" from Glamour.com. But I´ll give this a try for sure :)
Thanks for posting!

mclogan said...

Gorgeous photos! loving these food entries! & love Roost!

vintage engagement rings said...

Roast chicken is my favorite... this looks amazing!

Rachel Elizabeth said...

I cannot wait to try this!! If it tastes as good as it looks, it will probably become a regular for me!! Thank you!

LK said...

I cook a lot and this is the one dish (ok one of two. I love mussels but I'm afraid to make them) that has intimidated me. But now I will definitely make this! And I will definitely have the butcher remove the insides. Thanks for sharing!

Amy Turman said...

Wow this looks so good. I usually buy a rotisserie chicken at the store, shred it up, and eat it throughout the week. This will save me money, and probably be healthier (less salt).

Thanks for this recipe!

xoxo,
mon amy

Pink Princess said...

I really love this series Joanna! The choco chip cookies, the spaghetti and banana bread were all winners! Going to have to try this one next!

sip-n-wear said...

Yum! I love roasted chocken... So easy and yummy too!

Votre Amie said...

Aaaand I'm salivating!

http://iloveublank.blogspot.com/

SheMobs said...

AAAnnnd, it's lunchtime for me! Can't wait to try it!

Becky said...

Wow, this looks AMAZING!! I love to do a roast chicken when people come over - you don't have to stay in the kitchen slaving, it looks elegant on the table, and stays moist and delicious! I have to try this one!

-Becky

http://www.cuphalffull-sf.blogspot.com/

Jo said...

Oh this is great! I am loving this series.
When I was younger, my mom, sisters and I would have picnics in the middle of the week sometimes, and we'd pick up a roast chicken at this great local market, but I never thought I could replicate the recipe.
Definitely going to try this one as soon as I get the chance!

meaghantothemax said...

Mmm, I love roast chicken! Like an above commenter, a free-range roast chicken is one of my few exceptions to a mostly veggie diet... so delicious and so many meals out of one bird!

I will note though that food safety agencies recommend NOT washing raw poultry (or any meat). All it does is cross-contaminate your surfaces (sink, faucets, dishtowels) when cooking is what will kill any bacteria.

jacquelyn | lark & linen said...

I'm quite confident in the kitchen for the most part, but roasting a chicken is so daunting to me! I'll have to give this a try. I can do this! I know I can!

Quiana said...

I adore a Year in Provence. Looks delish! I've also found that brining the chicken first makes a world of difference in flavor and juiciness!

.aubrey c. said...

I just started following you and I love all of the variety of posts you do!

http://gandacummings.blogspot.com

Deanna Bauer said...

Ohh does sound good, I wish I could just smell it through your blog, it looks that good

Http://www.lovelypinkdiva.com

J. Beaudet said...

I never know what to do with a whole chicken. I'm kind of intimidated by it! Thanks so much for this. Maybe now I can attempt this!
Jennifer:)

Laura Trevey said...

Always looking for those great recipes :)

Gluten free products said...

Great post, I'm gonna test them soon, thanks for sharing.

Yao said...

I love this awesome (and easy) tip from serious eats food lab to make roast chickens even better - http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/05/how-to-roast-a-chicken-butterflied-tips.html

Erica said...

I love roasted chicken, I think it's one of those dishes that are so simple, yet so delicious and comforting. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

Robert Richards Recipes said...

Are you kidding me? This recipe sounds and looks totally delicious! This is going on my list of recipes to make over the next week. ;-)

Melissa said...

Looks absolutely delicious!Definitely have to try it! My favorite roast chicken is beer can chicken...stick a can of beer up its butt before you roast it and it ends up being so moist and lovely on the inside!

POWDER GREY said...

Brilliant timing.... I just got a chicken to roast for tommoro's supper with the family. I will certainly try this recipe out. Looks and sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

I love your "Best" recipes! I've tried many of them and they have certainly met my expectations. Keep them coming!

Anonymous said...

This sounds like an excellent (and easier, with no flipping involved) version of "Engagement Chicken!" :)

Kate said...

This looks delicious! Thank you for sharing!

Kate {Something Fabulous}
http://thesomethingfabulous.blogspot.com

Joyce Alexander said...

Drool. And I love the sound of the outdoor lunch from A Year in Provence... So nostalgic. Especially the wine part :)

Sasha said...

Her photographs are just too beautiful.

I made a similar roast chicken this week and nothing beats such a classic and effortless meal. I love this Wednesday recipe feature and I have my fingers crossed that it continues!

Bethany said...

Roost is where I go to drool and dream about culinary masterpieces - so glad you invited Caitlin to share! Even better, I've been wondering about how to make a delicious roast chicken at my skill level (no trussing, please!) and this looks/sounds perfect! Can't wait to try it out!

maryfe said...

Although the Zuni Roast chicken is my go-to recipe for roast chicken this one got me drooling. I might give it a try next week!

Amy P said...

This series is genius :) I think you need to do other classic how-tos! Something in the field of manners would be great...especially when it comes to helping others through sickness, grief, life changes, etc.

samir said...

nice post carry on
www.holoul.blogspot.com

Caz said...

Oooh this looks so good!
I've used thyme with chicken before, but never rosemary or lavender - can't wait to give it a try :)

Anonymous said...

toast chicken is my favorite and this looks great!

Dylana Suarez said...

AMAZING!

xoxo,

colormenana.blogspot.com

Pink Ronnie said...

Thanks Jo.

I love roast chicken and I loved that book!

Ronnie xo

gluttonforlife said...

Lovely photos and such a simple, perfect recipe. The cauliflower is a great alternative to potatoes!

Yo. said...

OH MY GOD this looks amazing...You need to get a chicken from the farm so that it's amazing like this one! I had the best roast chicken in my life when I was like 7, in Portugal...

www.aboutfoood.blogspot.com

Kat said...

Love Caitlin's blog! Never seen a food blog this beautiful.

Hena Tayeb said...

mmm this looks so good

Anonymous said...

love your blog! The BEST roasted chicken pieces I have ever made are on the Smitten Kitchen website...buttermilk roasted chicken. This looks awesome too!
Susan - williamsburg, va

Jillian@TheHumbleGourmet said...

When I was a kid, I thought roast chicken was a very fancy dinner. As I've grown up, it becomes an absolute staple for us. I love cold roast chicken, the day after it's been cooked, all by itself. Heavenly.

southerncharmerxo said...

That looks delicious! I am definitely going to make this within the next month. Yum!

JessaDaBesta said...

Jo!

I tried this recipe spur of the moment and it was AMAZING! SERIOUSLY, my very picky husband loved it. It has an amazing rustic presentation and I felt all smancy! Thanks for the suggestion!

Diana Graham said...

Thank you for sharing this. It's a wonderful recipe. I recently read A Year In Provence, such a good book!

Anonymous said...

I ran across this recipe and made it this morning. Oh my word-my house smells AMAZING! It is the best yummiest chicken I have ever had! I roasted it at 425 degrees for 55 minutes though. Thanks!

sasha denise. said...

Made this for the hubby last night and boy did he love it. I've only ever attempted to roast a chicken once before and it turned out horribly. This time, it was a dream. I'm so happy to have this recipe.

I don't know about anyone else, but my chicken was a little over 3.5 lbs and I had a lot of the herb mixture left over, so I may do a little less than 1 tbsp for each herb next time, but other than that everything turned out perfectly :)

Anonymous said...

Hmmm..I don't know about this at all. At 450 degrees you are sucking the juice right out of that poor bird so to speak. Less than an hour? You'll have dry meat that although not pink, is inedible. Try 325 instead at 2 hours, basting like crazy. 1 tbsp of butter is not nearly enough either. Use half a tub if you must! Also, don't over compensate with too many herbs. Use spices instead. My favorites are a mix of paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper and yes, the rosemary for the herb. Trust me....mine will be the best you've ever eaten.

Mish said...

I made this last night for my boyfriend and it is just as wonderful as described. 450 is perfect, it's also the temp used by Chef Thomas Keller on his simple roast chicken. Making this recipe made me feel like a Domestic Goddess and I will be making it again and again!

Some notes on changes necessitated by my grocery store, only five pound birds were availiable, so it had to stay in the oven longer. I also could not find thyme or culinary lavender, so I substituted a very small amount of sage (since it's powerful) on the top of the bird only. Divine, crispy on the outside and juicey on the inside. I never eat the skin normally, but this was too good! We even had trouble carving it, because every time we tugged on a leg the meat melted off the bone!

Andi Anderson said...

I truly like to reading your post. Thank you so much for taking the time to share such a nice information.
the greasy chicken

4utea said...

That sounds refreshing and delightful. I would like it to Send gifts to pakistan for brother. cheap prom dresses

Crane and Whitney said...

I made this chicken for Thanksgiving (just me and my husband, no need for a big ol' turkey). This recipe is so easy and sooo good! The chicken is juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside, and so flavorful. I would make it again and again!

Aqsa said...

It looks very tasty. pak gift is one of most reliable shop to send gifts… send gifts to Pakistan

Shannon Fuhr said...

How long did the 5lb bird take at 450? Did the skin start to burn/did you have to cover it? Mine is in the oven now, thanks!!

Unknown said...

Breast aesthetics, there is a lot I do not know about. There are those from Turkey you recommend Dr. Ali mezde─či. Do you have that information?
Meme esteti─či

Unknown said...

I've used this recipie twice and you're right, it is the best I've had!

Free Stock market tips | Free share market tips said...

It is a well executed post. I like the diagram most. It is a helpful informative post. Thanks for sharing this great information. Share tips

Arni Bergsson said...

Have to say I love this recipe, I would love it if you would be so nice guest post one chicken recipe on my site?

http://chickenprepare.com/
It's only about chicken :)

With thanks,
Arni.

Golden said...

Speechless, because when I tried it at my home the test was awesome thanks for the recipes.
Chickens for sale

Pol Aguas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pol Aguas said...

This is a nice thing you have done to the chicken :) I need to have a rice (I'm Asian lol) if I see this on our table. You can see my roasted chicken recipe that became our business on the long run.
best lechon



Thanks for sharing your recipe!

Mimi Lo said...

Using this recipe for yet another Holiday. Thank you Jo, and Cait

Lembest Lechon said...

this is a delicious recipe but some herbs are not easily available in my country, you may also see my personal blog of lechon business operation in Philippines

Rubie Davis said...

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