Tonight’s dinner was so delicious that as I’m sitting here on the couch smelling the lingering aroma in the air, I’m practically drooling.
It was easy and healthy too.
One of my favorite things in the whole world is making a dinner that smells so good it smacks you in the face as soon as you walk through the door and makes you thankful that you live somewhere with such delicious food.
I’m imagining that’s how Andy felt tonight when he got home. Right babe?
Anyway, I was shopping at Trader Joe’s on Tuesday night and saw a bunch of “cute little chickens” (as my mom calls them) just waiting to be taken home for dinner.
They may have been expecting candlelight and romance, but I had sage and rosemary in mind for them :)
I grabbed one for just over $5 and thought it would pair nicely with some baby carrots and yukon gold potatoes that I had on hand.
I think a roasted chicken dinner has a certain elegance about it. The golden, crispy skin and juicy white meat slices on a plate next to bright orange carrots and golden potatoes. It’s a still life painting just waiting to happen.
But, the best part is that it’s SO STINKIN’ EASY to make!
I love this recipe from the Pioneer Woman. Check out her site and pop a few cholesterol pills before you fall down the rabbit hole that is her Tasty Kitchen. I’ve never picked a bad recipe from her collection, but it’s rare to find one that’s “light”, so proceed with caution.
Herb Roasted Chicken
* 3-4lb Whole Chicken
* Something to stuff inside the chicken (Apple, Onion, Lemon, Garlic, Carrot, etc..)
* About 3 tablespoons olive oil
* Salt and Pepper
* about 1-2 tablespoons fresh or dry herbs (I used sage, rosemary and thyme)
You can stuff various items into the chicken for roasting and they will add additional moisture and flavor from the inside. I used a lemon, some garlic cloves, and an onion tonight. In the past I used an apple instead of a lemon. Both are great.
Start by preheating the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. (I haven’t had to spell that word for a while!)
Then, unwrap the chicken, pull out the “innards” which are usually in a separate pouch and give the old bird a good rinse. I even rinse out the cavity.
Then shake your wet bird (sounds kinky!) to get rid of a lot of the extra water.
Dry off the little guy very thoroughly so that the oil can grab on and create a golden, crispy crust.
Set Mr. Bird into a roasting pan. I don’t have a fancy roasting rack, so I just dropped him right into the roaster.
Pour about 3 tablespoons of olive oil into a small bowl. Add a generous shake (maybe a teaspoon) of each of the following:
Thyme and rosemary are both pretty “needley” so grind them up a bit with your fingers before adding them to the oil.
The oil will be a very dark green color once you combine it with these herbs.
Oh, then add a few dashes of salt and pepper.
Before greasing up the outside of the bird, we need to stuff it with whatever assortment of fruits/veggies we have on hand.
I used the following this time:
1 medium onion cut into quarters
1 large lemon cut into wedges
5 large cloves of garlic, peeled and slightly smashed
Like I said before, using an apple in place of the lemon is also great.
Just cram this stuff into the cavity until you can’t fit anymore. I make sure to alternate everything so I don’t end up with distinct layers inside. Be creative.
Once Sir Plucked Alot is stuffed, set him (breast side up!) into the pan.
It can be tough to figure out which side the breasts are on (no one has ever had this problem with me…go figure) but if you look closely you can tell that one side of him will be “fleshier” than the other.
Those are the boobs. See below:
Ok, now where were we?
Oh, right. Giving him a rub down.
Should I assign this post a PG-13 rating??
Grab that bowl of herby olive oil and pour it over the bird. Now is not the time to try to be neat. It’s best if you massage the oil all over him with your bare hands.
If you have any onion pieces that you couldn’t fit inside, feel free to scatter them around the edges of the pan. I also added a few handfuls of baby carrots to the pan and some potatoes that were peeled and quartered. This way you have a whole meal when the bird is done!
Once the oven is pre-heated, you just throw the pan into the oven (without a lid!) and set a timer for 1 hour and 15 minutes. This will perfectly cook a 3-4 pound bird. For the record my bird was 3.32 pounds and came out delicious.
I basted my bird twice during the cook time. Once around halfway through the cooking time, and the second time near the end. Basting is just sucking up the juices in the pan with a “baster” or scooping them up with a spoon and pouring them over the top of the bird to circulate the flavor.
This is a baster:
When the timer goes off, take the bird out and let him rest for 5-10 minutes. This will allow him to cool down and also leave time for all of the juices to settle into the meat to keep it moist.
At this point the chicken should be well rested and ready to eat! Click here to learn the best way to slice and dice him. I generally just cut the legs off and slice the breast up.
I know it sounds long, but it’s really only about 15-20 minutes of prep work, then you can do something else for about an hour and then it’s another 5 minutes or so before you’re moaning about how good your dinner is after each bite!
This is all that’s left of the poor little guy.
Next stop? Homemade chicken stock!