Sunday is here again, so you know what that means… Delicious Sunday dinner. One of my favorite things to cook for Sunday dinner is a whole chicken. It is just down-right comfort food, and the leftovers make for great soup the following day. It’s just good home cooking.
Most people think of chicken as lazy dish, or a boring dish, but most chefs agree you can measure how good a restaurant is by their roasted chicken. Making a good roasted chicken is like making a good omelet; where you take something ordinary and turn into something extraordinary. The whole process is an exercise in delayed gratification because you put all this work into preparation and then have to wait for it to roast while the hypnotizing smell roast and provincial herbs permeates the entire house. The wait, however, is worth it.
For this dish you will need:
- 1 5lbs Chicken (whole)
- 4 Tbsp Salt
- 4 Tbsp Pepper
- 1 Tbsp Rosemary – Dry
- 1 Tbsp Tarragon – Dry
- 1 Tbsp Parsley – Dry
- 1 Tbsp Oregano – Dry
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon (juiced)
- 1 lemon cut in half
- 2 sprigs Rosemary
- 2 sprigs Thyme
In a small bowl combine the salt, pepper, all dry spices and lemon juice. Once combined, slowly add the extra virgin olive oil while vigorously whisking the mixture. The resulting consistency should have the viscosity of a lemon vinaigrette. Once you have your mixture, set aside.
To prepare the chicken, start by removing the giblets from the chicken’s cavity (assuming the giblets are still there). You can set aside the giblets and use it to make a stock, but that’s for another recipe post. Once you have removed the giblets, wash the chicken under cold water, and then pat thoroughly dry with paper-towel (inside and out). Now with your chicken prepped, it is time to marinate it with the vinaigrette. Start by liberally adding the vinaigrette to the breast between the skin and the breast and then rub the outside of the chicken with rest of the vinaigrette.
Once you have completely coated the chicken with the vinaigrette, take the lemon that’s been cut in half, sandwich the sprig of rosemary and thyme between the two halves, and insert in the chicken’s cavity.
After inserting the lemon, rosemary and thyme in the cavity, truss the chicken with kitchen twine then place the chicken on a platter and place in the refrigerator until ready to cook. Before cooking, remove chicken from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.
Pre heat your oven to 425 degrees. Place the chicken on a roasting pan with rack and place in the oven for 15 minutes for light browning. After 15 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and roast for approximately 20 minutes per pound (not including the 15 minutes of browning time), or until the internal breast temperature reaches 165 degrees.
NOTE: I have found that a digital thermometer comes in handy for this type of cooking and can be super useful in other dishes like prime rib or pork butt, especially when grilling or smoking meats. The one I use pretty religiously is the ThermoPro TP-07 Wireless Remote Digital Cooking Thermometer. I like this one in particular because it can also be used when smoking or grilling. Some probe thermometers can only be used in the oven and not grills or smokers.
Once the chicken is done cooking, remove it from the oven, place on a cutting board, and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before carving. After resting, carve and enjoy. There are many side dishes that pair well with this dish, but I prefer roasted vegetables or cast iron seared cabbage.