Whole chickens are about the least expensive meat per pound that you can buy, particularly when they are on sale. When whole chicken shows up on sale my store circular, I stock up! Not only does my family enjoy a roast chicken on a Sunday, roasted chicken meat has so many applications throughout the week:

  • Tossed with cooked pasta, steamed veggies, and a little parmesan cheese for a quick lunch or dinner.
  • In homemade chicken salad. My favorite light recipe includes Greek yogurt, grapes, and walnuts.
  • With some cheese in a tortilla for a tasty quesadilla.
  • In a pita or wrap with blue cheese, a chopped apple, and some greens.

Many weeks I’ll roast a couple of chickens at the same time so that I have plenty of leftover meat.

Of course a dry, flavorless chicken isn’t useful in any application, so I think it’s worthwhile to spend a little bit of time prepping the chicken so it’s juice and full of flavor when it comes out of the oven. I also make a tasty gravy to serve with the whole roast chicken. For a really tasty and frugal leftover lunch, top a piece of toast with some warm chicken and gravy.

Recipe: Whole Roast Chicken

Details

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40-50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 whole roasting chicken
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Butcher’s twine (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Season the chicken evenly outside and in the cavity with salt and pepper then spread the garlic evenly over the chicken.
  3. Put the bay leaf, onion, carrot and celery into the bottom of a roasting pan.
  4. Put a rack in a roasting pan on top of the vegetables to keep the chicken out of its own drippings.
  5. Place the bird breast-side down and place the pan in the oven.
  6. Roast for 20 minutes and then flip the chicken over for the rest of the cooking time. The chicken is done with an instant-read thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees.
  7. Remove the rack with the bird still on it from the roasting pan and set it over a cutting board or shallow dish to catch any stray drippings. Let the chicken rest while you make the natural gravy.
  8. Drain excess fat from the roasting pan and pour the white wine over the vegetables. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  9. Turn two of your stove burners on medium-high and place the roasting pan so it covers both burners. Bring the liquid in the pan to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, reduce the liquids until they are thickened, about 5 minutes.
  10. Add the chicken stock and thyme sprigs to the pan and reduce for a few more minutes until thickened. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
  11. Pour the liquid and vegetables from the pan into a strainer set over a medium mixing bowl to remove the solids from the gravy.
  12. Serve the chicken with the strained gravy.

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks

  • If you want, you can truss the bird to so it cooks more evenly. To truss the chicken:
    • Cut about a 3-foot length of heatproof butcher’s twine.
    • Lay the chicken on a clean surface with the breast facing up.
    • Hold one end of the string in each hand, and loop the center of the string underneath the chicken’s tail.
    • Catch the ends of the legs inside the string, then cross the string over the chicken’s breast, making an X. Loop the string under and around the wings, and then tie the string snugly in a knot across the middle of the breast.
    • Make sure that the ends of the wings are tucked in.
    • This video outlines the trussing process nicely.
  • Invest in a meat thermometer to be sure that you are cooking your poultry thoroughly. Cook chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees, tested by inserting the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh.
  • Even if you don’t make the gravy, be sure to let the chicken rest for at least 15 minutes before cutting into it. This break between oven and plate lets the juices in the chicken redistribute throughout the chicken.
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