I haven’t had a chance to update this place in a few weeks, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking my ass off lol. Someone asked me to share my roast chicken recipe, so here we go!
Lately, I’ve been addicted to meyer lemons. They’re not the most easily available little buggers, but if you can find them — use them for this recipe. They are a bit sweeter than regular lemons and have a very interesting flavor and aroma. They’re almost like a hybrid of a mandarin orange and a lemon, absolutely delicious. Of course if you can’t find meyer lemons you can use regular lemons and still achieve delicious results. This chicken is simple, flavorful and absolutely yummy. Try it out, make it your own and enjoy it.
This recipe is passed down from my mom, and is a pretty basic yet very delicious roast chicken recipe (and usually made with regular lemons). This is the way my mom taught me how to roast a chicken, so I’m passing that on to those of you who’ve never roasted a chicken before in your lives. Minimal ingredients — tons of flavor. This is just one way I roast a chicken, so stay tuned for lots of other variations. I’ve seen a bunch of other chicken recipes in my lifetime and they’re all basically the same. Different flavor combos of course, but the techniques are usually identical. When it comes to roast chicken, it’s best to keep it simple. When you start doing too much and over-thinking it, you can end up with flip-floppy inconsistent results. This is the kinda recipe you can really make your own. Add fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, or tarragon to the inside of the bird or use different citrus fruits, such as limes or blood oranges. I usually add fresh herbs to the inside of the bird, but I didn’t have any on hand 🙁 One of my favorite parts of this whole meal would have to be the onions. They cook down til they’re very soft and sweet, and slightly caramelized. They provide such a nice balance to all of the flavors going on here. After the chicken is done, I usually squeeze the remaining liquid out of the onions and mix it with the chicken juices for a nice drizzling sauce, nothing fancy at all.
A few tips for perfect roast chicken:
- Keep the chicken skin dry during prep by patting with paper towels
This will ensure proper and even browning all over the bird because there is no surface moisture on the skin to steam it and render it pale and flabby.
- Separating the skin from the meat also helps the skin render more fat, further helping it crisp as it roasts
Do this for the breast meat, and the legs and thighs and any surface of the bird that’s exposed facing up (no need to do the bottom of the chicken because it’ll be sitting in the roasting pan and won’t get crisp like the rest of the bird). Make sure you are being as gentle as possible so that you don’t tear the skin, just use your fingers to navigate thru the chicken and loosen the skin.
- Because we’re not brining the bird, salt liberally with kosher salt
It’s textured and gives the chicken a nice salty crust. Adding plenty of it helps season the bird for the short period of time it’s in the oven. Salt and freshly ground black pepper are the only “shakeable” seasonings you need on the surface of the bird — anything else will burn. Feel free to use different seasonings for the inside of the chicken if you’d like. Keep in mind that the lemons, garlic, and onion will contribute to amazing flavor as well. It’s best to salt and pepper the bird after you massage olive oil all over the bird so that it actually sticks to the skin.
- Tie the legs together at their base
This ensures the bird will roast more evenly because as you know, the chicken is comprised of white and dark meat — dark meat takes longer to cook, but also has more moisture than the white breast meat. White meat is done around 160 degrees, whereas dark meat is ready around 175 degrees. Overcooking the chicken will result in tougher, drier white meat and that’s just not what we came here to do.
- Butter or olive oil — choose your fat
I’ve roasted chickens by brushing about 3 tablespoons of melted/slightly cooled unsalted butter all over the bird, and they’re delicious and very “buttery”. However olive oil has always given me more crisp than butter, and that’s what I personally prefer, so I tend to use that 90% of the time. It depends on what you’re in the mood for and what your preference is. Both options are incredibly delicious. You could use both, which I often do — massage the outside of the bird with olive oil, and rub a little butter under the skin to give the meat a buttery flavor.
I used a 4lb bird and it took about 1 hour and 20 minutes for the dark meat to register 175 on my instant read thermometer. I immediately took it out of the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes before cutting into it. This helps all of the hot and rampant juices running all thru the chicken STAY in the chicken. If you cut into the chicken too early, you risk drying it out because the juices will be all “Hayyy, look at me!”. So be patient, my love. Also, don’t open your oven door too much because every time you do, you lose about 50 degrees of heat and then it has to get hot all over again, slowing down the roasting time.
I’ve been roasting chickens for years and I still get a little squeamish when scraping out the guts and liver and stuff — it just looks so gross lol, but hey, you gotta man up and get it done. As simple as this recipe and procedure is, it’s also easy to mess it up. When I first started cooking whole chickens, it took me a few birds to really nail it — now I can do this with my eyes closed. Don’t worry if it doesn’t come out the way you’d hoped the first time, practice makes perfect and whole chickens are relatively cheap.
This bird is exactly 4lbs. We need to clean it up before we cook it. You see this extra piece of flabby fat near the opening? We’re cutting that off. We don’t need it, it’ll just make the chicken more greasy than it needs to be. With a sharp knife or kitchen shears, trim the excess fat from this area. Be careful not to confuse it with the actual skin because we want to keep that. You may be able to simply tear this fat off with your fingers.
With a spoon or your fingers, fish out the liver and kidney’s from the inside of the bird. You don’t have to do this, but I like to.
See, that’s all the stuff I don’t wanna eat — still an optional step.
Salt and pepper the inside of the cavity liberally. Use about 1 to 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, and ½ to 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.
These are the “skin flaps” that I’m going to “sew” together with a sharp bamboo skewer to keep that onion and all the good stuff inside.
With a sharp knife, make a tiny incision on the opening of the breast meat, like this. Work your fingers thru the chicken to separate the skin from the meat. Please be gentle so you don’t tear the skin.
And like this. I’m on the thigh and leg area here. Do this for the entire surface of the chicken, don’t worry about the bottom of the chicken for this recipe.
I “sewed” the “skin flaps” together with a bamboo skewer and went thru the tailbone to make sure it was all sealed up. Snip and trim the skewer so it looks like this.
Tuck the wings behind the bird. This ensures even cooking and helps prevent the wing tips from burning.
Drizzle about a teaspoon or 2 of olive oil onto the bottom of the bird and massage all over. Sprinkle a teaspoon or two of kosher salt and ½ to 1 teaspoon of black pepper on the bottom of the bird evenly.
Then flip the bird so it’s breast-side up and massage the entire top surface with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. I used about a tablespoon of kosher salt and about a half teaspoon of black pepper at this stage, but the amount is totally up to you.
1 hour and 20 minutes later, my 4lb bird is perfect. Isn’t she pretty? She’s delicious too…and very juicy.
The lemons release their juice and create a “pan sauce” while the chicken roasts, that’s delicious when drizzled over the final product.
So crispy, yet so juicy! Yum!
Um, do you see how moist the white meat is? Aw man..
Yeah, I killed that
Welp, it looks as though you better go buy yourself a chicken and make it fabulous!Print