Kitchen Basics: How To Roast A Chicken

It occurred to me yesterday as I was cooking dinner that I’ve never posted a roasted chicken recipe.  Since I roast a chicken for almost every big meal, this was surprising to me.  A good roast chicken is a must for any Jewish woman (along with chicken soup)- you must know how to do it, even if you don’t do it often.  I base my recipe on Ina Garten’s  (my grandmother’s was more simple- it was just chicken in a pan and roasted so I like Ina’s) and it works every time.  Since I don’t love turkey and there were only three of us eating yesterday, I roasted a chicken and even remembered to take photos to share with you….

Roasted Chicken

1 whole chicken

several carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped

1 head of fennel

several cloves of garlic, peeled

1 head of garlic, cut in half

1 lemon, cut in half

1 stick of butter, melted

salt, pepper

Optional:  small potatoes or larger potatoes peeled and chopped, brussel sprouts, other root veggies (parsnips, turnips, etc) peeled and chopped


Preheat oven to 425.

Check out your chicken and make sure that you’ve taken out the gizzard, heart, etc. parts. Usually they’re in the cavity in a neat little bag. You can save them to make stock or broth if you like.  Rinse your chicken and pat dry.  Set it aside and make sure that you’ve washed your hands afterwards- never touch anything after you’ve handled raw chicken.  Get out your roasting pan.  I use this enormous one which was a wedding gift from a wonderful friend- it can hold a turkey easily and I adore it.

Get out your veggies.  I always use garlic, carrot, onion and fennel.  You can also use other root veggies as you like.  Mostly they serve as a bed for the chicken to rest on as it cooks and then soak up all the yummy chicken juices and butter and spices.  They end up carmalizing in the pan and are just delicious.  Anyway, rinse, peel and chop them so that they’re roughly the same size.  For those of you playing along at home, here’s fennel, one of my favorite strange looking veggies.

I use just the bulb part but I think that the top is so funny- sort of frilly and tickly.  Wash and then chop it into rough pieces.  It’s layered, like an onion so the pieces will look like the onion that you chop.  Fennel has a sort of black licorice taste so it’s strong but I like it.  Anyway, toss all your veggies with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and throw them into the roasting pan.

Slice the head of garlic in half lengthwise and slice the lemon in half as well.  Stuff each into the empty cavity of the chicken- I alternate, lemon/garlic/lemon/garlic.  Place your chicken on top of the veggies. 

Melt the stick of butter (yes, I know, a stick!) in a pan over low heat.  Pour the butter over your chicken.  Salt and pepper the chicken well. Wash your hands.

Bake for about an hour and fifteen minutes, or until the internal temperature is between 150-160 degrees.  Take it out and let it rest for ten minutes before attempting to carve.  Ina says to tent it with foil but I don’t always do that. Sometimes, depending on how quickly the skin is browning, I’ll cover it with foil while it’s still cooking, just to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Carve and serve on a platter with some of the yummy veggies on the side. I recently watched a foodtv special on Thanksgiving in which Alton Brown carved a turkey live! and on tv!- and now I can carve a chicken.  Far easier than I thought.

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