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This Easy Herby Roast Chicken is permeated with flavorful herbs and butter, stuffed with lemon and garlic, then roasted to golden, crispy, and juicy perfection. The addition of potatoes and a half head of garlic roasting on the same pan make a beautiful side dish. It’s a perfect weekend dinner that serves up so elegant while being so simple to make! It will become your go-to roast chicken recipe!
The chicken gets its wonderful earthy flavor from a selection of herbs. Fresh is best. In my case, I grow my own in a window garden. However, I’ve done this recipe many times with dried herbs, and it’s just as delicious. When converting fresh herbs to dry herbs, the ratio is one teaspoon dried for one tablespoon fresh. The combo of rosemary, sage, thyme, and parsley is a time-honored seasoning blend for poultry. However, in a pinch, substitute any of the herbs for more of another or a different herb. I’ve subbed in oregano, marjoram, tarragon, and garlic. You can’t go wrong – remember, no stress! The herbs go under and over the skin.
This bird’s juiciness comes from lemon halves stuffed in the cavity along with half a head of garlic. The lemons work like magic to keep even the white meat moist and juicy. The garlic adds additional flavor. The butter gives the herbs a fabulous taste. However, olive oil will work just as well if you prefer. Pat down the chicken with paper towels to remove any moisture before coating with herbs and butter. The drier skin helps with the beautiful browning.
Sidebar: Despite what you may have read in other recipes or heard from Grandma, do NOT rinse or wash the chicken. Rinsing is a huge no-no! Washing raw chicken before cooking it can increase your risk of food poisoning from campylobacter bacteria. Splashing water from washing chicken under a tap can spread the bacteria onto hands, work surfaces, clothing, and cooking equipment. This isn’t my opinion. It comes from the CDC and the USDA.
I used to be intimidated by roast chicken because the instructions always required twine to “truss” the bird to close the cavity of the bird. I don’t have cooking twine, and I’m pretty sure that yarn isn’t a good option. A few years ago, I learned this way cool trick that resolved the trussing issue – no twine (or even rubber bands) are required!. Pull out the excess bit of skin that hangs around the cavity. Carefully cut small slits into the skin, just enough to fit the legs through. Cross the drumsticks and tuck them into the incisions. It’s so easy! I don’t understand why we ever did the twine thing.
The chicken roasts on a baking pan lined with aluminum foil, making clean-up super easy. Use a couple of paper towels to soak up the grease and throw away the foil along with the paper towels. Ta-da: No pan to soak and scrub! You can use a roasting pan and rack if you have one. I have one for turkey, but it’s overkill for a 4 lb chicken. I’ve also used my cast iron skillet for a roaster. It works well. Based solely on easy clean-up (which is vital to me), I prefer a shallow baking pan lined with foil.
When roasting chicken, I love throwing in a few potatoes. I use medium Yukon golds and cut them in half. I don’t do anything to them – I place them cut side up in the pan. Their brown and blistered appearance is a thing of beauty! Season them with salt and pepper before serving. I also roast the remaining half head of garlic, cut side up on the baking pan. It also browns up beautifully. I squeeze out the garlic and combine it with some softened butter and a little seasoning for bread or biscuits.
The roasting begins in a pre-heated oven at 450°F for 30 minutes, reducing the time to 350°F for an additional 45-50 minutes. Loosely cover the bird with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning. I love my digital thermometer for spot checks on doneness, but I used an old-fashioned meat thermometer for years. It doesn’t matter what kind of thermometer you use, but use one! The internal temp (at the thickest part of the bird) needs to be at least 165°. The juices should be clear. Let chicken stand, covered, 10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!
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Easy Herby Roast ChickenCourse: MainCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
This Easy Herby Roast Chicken is permeated with flavorful herbs and butter, stuffed with lemon and garlic, then roasted to golden, crispy, and juicy perfection.
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 tablespoon chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons dried sage
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 lemon, sliced in half crosswise, visible seeds removed
1 head of garlic, sliced in half crosswise
¼ cup (½ stick) butter – melted
1 – 4 lb. whole chicken – giblets removed and patted dry with paper towels
Optional:4 medium potatoes – sliced in half
- Prep: Preheat oven to 450°. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Chop fresh herbs. Cut 1 lemon in half crosswise and remove any visible seeds. Cut 1 head of garlic in half crosswise. (it’s okay if it slightly falls apart). Microwave a half stick of butter (1/4 cup) to melt in a microwave-safe measuring cup or small bowl. Remove giblets from chicken, thoroughly pat dry with paper towels
- Place Combine herbs, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place chicken breast side up on the lined baking pan. Gently loosen and lift skin from breast and drumsticks with fingers. (Do not totally detach skin.) Rub half of the herb mixture evenly underneath skin. Carefully replace skin. Rub the other half of the herbs on top of skin and inside body cavity. Season generously with additional salt and pepper. Stuff cavity with both lemon halves and one half of the head of garlic.
- Secure the drumsticks to close the open cavity by pulling out the excess bit of skin that hangs around the cavity. Carefully cut little slits into the skin, just enough to fit the legs through. Cross the drumsticks and tuck them into the incisions. Pour melted butter of top of chicken and inside cavity. If desired, Arrange sliced potatoes and remaining garlic half cut sides up on baking pan around chicken.
- Bake at 450° for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°, and bake 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in thigh registers 165°, covering loosely with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning, if necessary. Let chicken stand, covered, 10 minutes before slicing.
- Baking pan: a roasting pan or oven-safe skillet can also be used (no need to line with foil)
- Chicken: Make sure giblets have been removed from the cavity. Do NOT rinse chicken – it’s not necessary and it increases the risks of food poisoning.
- Trussing without twine: To close the cavity of the bird without having to tie the legs, pull out the excess bit of skin that hangs around the cavity. Carefully cut little slits into the skin, just enough to fit the legs through. Cross the drumsticks and tuck them into the incisions
- Butter: Butter is best but can be substituted with a ¼ cup olive oil