We call this our Sunday Roast Chicken simply because Sunday is about the only day I have time to prepare and roast a whole chicken! Creative, I know. Plus, growing up in my family, on Sundays we always had a big meal together after church (of course). So Sunday just seems natural, I guess!
This recipe is really simple, but I have to admit, you have to plan ahead to get this one done and in the oven a couple hours before you want to eat. If you have the time to hang at the house, then this recipe should be at the top of your list!
Sunday Roast Chicken
1 Whole Chicken
4 Stalks of Celery
2 cups Baby Carrots or Regular Carrots chopped to size
1 Yellow Onion, sliced and 1/2 Yellow Onion for stuffing in your bird
2 Bay Leaves
5 Garlic Cloves, smashed with skin on
3 t Fresh Thyme, chopped or 1 t dried thyme
4 – 5 Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary or 1 t dried rosemary
Preheat oven to 475°F
Rinse the chicken under cold water, then pat dry with some paper towels. I like to use my poultry cutting board, layer a few paper towels on top of it and set it by my sink. Once I am done rinsing the bird, I just let her drip dry for a sec, then I transfer it onto the covered cutting board. Then take a couple more paper towels and pat the top dry. Be sure you wash your hands and any surface the chicken touched so you don’t cross-contaminate. Yuck!
Wash your hands, then get out your roasting pan. I like to use a roasting pan that has one of those racks that fit inside it. Line the bottom of the pan with some foil..this will save you tons of clean-up time later! Scatter your celery stalks, carrots, sliced onion and bay leaves in the bottom of the pan then place the rack back in the pan as well.
Strip your herbs from their stem (save those stems!), then chop them up pretty fine. It helps to keep the herbs from scattering all over your board if you sprinkle a bit of kosher salt on top before you chop. Combine your salt and pepper in a small bowl with the chopped herbs. Be generous with the s&p…it’s a must on this one.
Now go find your bird, hopefully it’s still on the cutting board! I do my best to only handle the chicken with one hand at this point just because I know I need to grab my olive and herbs with the other and I don’t want to contaminate everything that may be in my way. Transfer the chicken to the rack, breast side down. Drizzle some olive oil with your clean hand, rub it in with the other. Fondle your bird, it’s okay. Necessary in fact! Then, again with your clean hand, grab a handful of the herb/s&p mixture and evenly distribute.
Now flip the bird on it’s (used to be) head so you are looking down into the cavity of the bird. Throw in some of that herb/s&p, then as carefully as you can, stuff the 1/2 onion, garlic, 1/2 lemon and stems into the cavity of the bird.
Finally, flip the bird over so she’s breast side up, apply the olive oil and herb/s&p. If you have some butchers twine handy, tie the little knobs of the legs together. This will help seal in that flavor. If you don’t have any, no biggie!
Put the rack in the oven and set your timer for 45 minutes. Check on your bird often to make sure she’s not browning too quickly. At 45 minutes, turn the temp down to 425°F for another 30 – 45 minutes until the bird reaches an internal temp of 165°F.
It is very important to let the bird cool in the rack for at least 10 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the bird. If you cut too soon, all those yummy juices will just fall right out and you’ll be feasting on a dry bird.
I like to serve this with some Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes”…one of my new found favorites! We make this with full intentions of having a ton of leftovers. Most often, we de-bone the rest of the meat, chop it up and use it to make our Creamy Chicken Salad.
Do your best to resist the crunchy, salty, wonderfully browned skin atop this fine bird you just roasted. When I figure out exactly how to this, I will definitely share the method. Until then…happy eating!