I remember the first time I got brave enough to roast a chicken. At the time, I worked outside of my house all week so I made sure it was a weekend and our calendar was clear. I loaded up on supplies days in advance and was ready to give that bird my whole attention all day!
I think it’s safe to say I was a bit nervous the first time I roasted a chicken. Just the idea of it sounded so much fancier and more advanced then anything I had tried in the kitchen. So the first time out, I called in a pro. I used the Roast Chicken recipe (more or less) from the talented Julia Child found in her amazing cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Volume I. At the time I was obsessed with this cookbook and read it and the second volume like books. To this day I still find myself coming back to one of her cookbooks for something pretty often. So, armed with all the tools I needed, I roasted the chicken, stressing the whole time. The stressing turned out to not be necessary because my bird came out wonderfully!
The biggest takeaway for me is that roasting a chicken is not really as hard as I was making it out to be. Just have the right tools, some time and patience and you will be on your way to tasty, amazing chicken you roasted yourself. And once you master a roast chicken, there really is very little you can’t figure out in the kitchen!
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 3.5 hours | Serves: 4-6
- 1 whole chicken (3-5 lb.), gizzards and any parts bagged inside removed
- 1 whole lemon, cut into eighths
- 1/2 cup butter, divided
- Fresh herbs, 5-7 sprigs of each variety (I love rosemary and oregano for a chicken)
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Using a paper towel, gently pat the chicken dry and place in a shallow roasting pan.
- Place lemon and herbs inside of the chicken.
- Generously season the chicken on all sides and inside cavity with salt and pepper.
- Melt 1/4 cup butter and using either a brush or baster, coat the chicken all over and place chicken breast side up in roasting pan.
- If you wish, you may truss (tie up) the chicken, securing the legs, neck and wings together but I do not usually do this and have found no great issues in not.
- Place chicken in oven and roast uncovered for 20 minutes.
- Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter and remove chicken from oven and baste all sides using butter and any extra juices from the pan, reserving some butter for another baste.
- Reduce oven to 375 degrees and return chicken to oven.
- Baste every 20-30 minutes until internal temperature of chicken is at least 170 degrees.
- If the chicken is browning and has not yet reached 170 degrees, gently cover with a tent of aluminum foil or lid of roasting pan to prevent excessive browning.
- Once chicken is cooked through, remove from roasting pan to a cutting board and cover with foil tent and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes prior to carving.
- Carve and savor!
- To check the temperature of the chicken, use an instant read meat thermometer. If you do not have one, you may also cut at he meatiest part of the chicken and if the juices run clear and the meat is not pink, your bird should be done!
- When using a thermometer to check temperature, ensure you do not check the temperature at the breast or or on the bone as the breast tends to cook faster and the bone heats up more, which will give you a false read for the doneness of the whole bird.
- Make sure you check the inside of the bird before you stuff! One time I was getting ready to roast a chicken and assumed since one type did not have a extras bag in the cavity that none would. I found this out when my stuffing would not fit in the chicken! It always pays to give a little poke around before stuffing!