Roasting a whole chicken is one of the most meal prep-friendly things that you can do in your kitchen. Taking a few hours to prep and roast your bird on a Sunday gives you infinite options for weekday lunches and dinners. A simple roast chicken is delicious on its own, perfectly portable when sliced up to top salads at work, and can be incorporated into curries, soups, baked dishes, and more. I love stuffing my chicken with lemon halves and fresh thyme sprigs before roasting, throwing a bunch of sliced veggies in the bottom of the pan, and and making a caramelized onion chutney to slather on top of each bite. I encourage everyone to get creative with how they flavor and serve their chicken, as the sky is truly the limit with this dish. Happy roasting!
Original recipe courtesy of Haven’s Kitchen.
1 whole chicken, innards removed (I usually do about 3lbs)
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 lemon, quartered
fresh ground black pepper
Optional: veggies for roasting in pan (onion, carrots, parsnips, turnips, etc) **leave these in large chunks so they don’t burn while the chicken is roasting
Preheat oven to 425°F. If purchasing your chicken a day before use, store the chicken uncovered in the lowest part of the refrigerator for 24 hours to dry the skin. Prepare chicken by removing it from the refrigerator at least an hour before roasting, which will allow the chicken to come to room temperature and shorten the cooking time.
Using a paring knife, remove the wishbone by making a small slice near the neck bone and scrape each side of the bone to remove it from the meat. Then using your fingers, pinch and twist the bone at the joint to remove it. Next remove the wing tips, the last joint of the wing, as these will burn. (Note: I’ve also skipped the wishbone and wingtip removal steps before and my chicken has turned out just fine).
Season the inside cavity of the chicken with salt and black pepper, and add the thyme and lemon to the cavity. Truss the chicken with butcher’s twine, placing the length of the twine around the neck first, bringing the twine across the wings and under the breast, and finishing by crossing the legs together and closing the cavity by tying underneath the tail. (Note: I normally don’t truss my chickens, but it’s all a matter of taste).
Season the outside of the chicken generously with salt and black pepper. Place in an oven-proof skillet—if making sauce—or a roasting pan lined with a rack. If roasting veggies as well, add these to the pan first in big chunks, with the chicken resting on top of them. Roast for 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature of thickest part of breast reads 155 to 160°F, and skin is golden and crispy (note that the juices should run clear). Remove from the oven and let chicken rest for at least 15 minutes before carving—this allows the redistribution of juices and the internal temperature to reach 165°F.
Carve the chicken by removing the twine and cutting off the legs—these can then be divided at the joint to yield the drumstick and thigh. Remove the breasts by slicing slightly to one side of the breastbone. Then, using your knife, carve each breast off the bone. Remove the wings from the breast and serve.
Caramelized Onion Chutney
yields 2 cups
¼ cup olive oil
3 large sweet onions, cut into ¼ -inch dice
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 parsley sprigs
2 bay leaves
1 rosemary sprig
¾ cup balsamic or champagne vinegar
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat until warm, about 30 seconds. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 15 minutes. Add in minced garlic. Tie the parsley, bay leaves and rosemary together with kitchen twine. Add the herb bundle to the diced onions and cook over low heat, stirring a few times, until fragrant, about three minutes. Stir in the vinegar and simmer over low heat, stirring a few times until thick, about five minutes. Discard the herb bundle. Season with salt and serve with roast chicken and vegetables.