Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
ROASTING A CHICKEN to perfect tenderness and flavor sounds like a daunting task. So many times, the chicken turns out dry and flavorless. If you follow these simple steps, you’ll have a tasty, juicy meal that’s easy on the budget. And don’t just waste the bones and dripping by throwing them in the trash. Cook them down for homemade chicken stock you can use in other recipes, saving money on expensive prepared stocks and broths.
Purchase a 4 to 5 pound whole roaster or whole fryer chicken at your local market. If you have a butcher or meat market, patronize them as the freshest and over less expensive option. I find a whole fryer of about 5 pounds costs around $6.00 at our local meat market.
You will need a small roasting pan that fits around the chicken but isn’t too large. For example, a 13″ GraniteWare Roaster is a perfect fit. You will also need an apple or an onion. If you have an apple that is a little older or heading down the mealy side of ripeness, you can use it for the chicken rather than throwing away. The type of apple doesn’t matter.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare the chicken by unwrapping and patting dry with a few paper towels. Less moisture means crispier skin. Choose your favorite herbs and spices to rub onto the chicken skin. In the summer, I use fresh sage, rosemary and lemon thyme, laying the freshly cut and washed sprigs along the bottom of the roasting pan and on the top of the chicken. In winter, dried sage and lemon pepper seasoning make a great substitute. You can also use barbeque rub for a hotter flavor. I don’t salt my chicken, since using the tasty herbs adds plenty of flavor without salt.
Place the chicken breast down in the roasting pan. Peel the apple or onion and insert in the cavity of the chicken. This will help retain moisture. Place the chicken in the oven uncovered for 45 minutes in the center of the oven. Remove and carefully flip the chicken over breast up. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake chicken uncovered for another 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before carving.
Serve with potatoes or brown rice and steamed vegetables. Perfect every time.
After dinner, clean the remaining meat from the bones and save in a zipper bag or container for the freezer. Since you probably don’t have time to make broth right after dinner, place the bones in a gallon-sized bag and freeze or refrigerate. When you have an extra two to four hours, place the bones in a large pot with 8 cups of water and boil. Reduce heat to medium and allow the stock to simmer until reduced by half. Strain out bones, fat and other particles and pour into containers for freezing. I use various sized jars from baby food jars to quart jars to have the perfect amount for different recipes.
This recipe credit goes to my sister, Margo. We regularly channel our late mother in our home cooking abilities.
1. Rub 4 to 5 pound whole chicken with favorite seasoning. Insert onion or apple in cavity.
2. Place in 375 degree oven breast down for 45 minutes
3. Turn over chicken and cook breast up for 45 minutes at 350 degrees
4. Rest 5 to 10 minutes before carving.