Sometimes making a big roast chicken meal seems intimidating and a lot of work. But once you figure out that roasted chicken is super easy, especially if you roast two chickens at once and use the leftovers for various other dishes, you'll come to understand that roasted chicken is easy and worth it. So very worth it.
My typical go-to recipe for roasted chicken is my Rotisserie-Style Roasted Chicken which involves a delicious spicy rub (this spice makes for awesome gravy and chicken noodle soup!) but the skin comes out on the drier side. Extremely tasty but not golden so I went online and found a recipe that fit my needs. I had a bag of lemons, a rosemary plant just begging to be used and two gorgeous chickens. Sounds like a roasted chicken night!
You'll notice that I have two chickens in this recipe. For our family of five one 4-5lb bird won't cut it but you can easily half this recipe if you only want to make one chicken. I just figured when you're roasting one chicken you may as well roast two.
The only negative I'd have to say about this recipe is the flipping of the bird. No, I'm not talking about saluting anyone with the raising of middle fingers, I'm talking about turning the chickens a couple of times during roasting so you get a nice even browning on all sides. It was awkward but in the end I had two nicely browned birds. Having two pairs of hands would have made this part of the recipe a little easier.
All said and done, this is a keeper. The chicken was extremely moist and had a slight lemony flavour and the addition of the fresh rosemary was perfect. I wouldn't suggest making gravy with the juice though since there is a whooooole lotta butter in it. We did make gravy this time out but it was overpowered with lemon which, when poured over mashed potatoes, wasn't a hit. The chicken, on the other hand, was a slam dunk.
Overall, this is a great addition to your recipe repertoire. Easy, moist and a great way to feed a crowd or make enough chicken that you can make all kinds of wonderful leftovers. Chicken casseroles, chicken salad sandwiches, chicken pot pie ....
1 large lemon
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/4 cup butter - softened
1 tbsp fresh rosemary - finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp lemon zest
2 - 4lb whole chicken
1 onion - peeled and quartered
2 sprigs of rosemary
3 garlic cloves - peeled
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup water (or white wine)
Preheat oven to 425F and ensure that your baking racks are set to the lower section of the oven to allow for your roasting pan.
Zest the lemon and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine garlic cloves, butter, 1 tbsp rosemary, thyme and lemon zest. Mix well and set aside.
Remove any giblets/neck from inside the chickens. Rinse chickens well - inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels. Generously season the inside of each chicken with salt and pepper.
Note: At this point you could stuff the chickens with extra quarters of onion and lemon. I actually forgot this step and didn't notice any difference in flavour.
Set chickens in a large roasting pan - breast side up. Gently make a pocket between the skin and the breasts of the chickens. Gently push half of the butter mixture in these pockets. This will get some of the herby-garlicy flavour right onto the meat.
Spread the rest of the butter mixture on the outside of the chickens, including the thighs and wings. The butter mixture will look chunky, that's okay.
Quarter or slice the lemon that you zested. Place onion quarters, rosemary sprigs, garlic cloves and lemon slices around chickens in the pan. Add 1/2 cup of water (or white wine if you have some).
Roast for 30 minutes or until chickens are starting to brown. This is what they should look like after their first bout in the oven.
Using tongs in one hand and a spatula in the other flip each chicken so the breast is facing down. This is an awkward step but worth it. Baste with juices. Roast for 20 minutes more.
Remove from oven and using your tongs and spatula, gently flip the chickens again so the breasts are facing up. Baste with juices and if your juices are a little low, you can add another 1/2 cup of water at this point.
Roast for 20 minutes longer or until a pyrometer/meat thermometer inserted into the thigh or breast registers 155-160F and the juices appear clear. Remove chickens to a large cutting board and cover with lid of your roasting pan or tin foil. Allow chickens to sit for a few minutes. Slice and serve immediately.
Inspired by: Foodiecrush.com - http://www.foodiecrush.com/oven-roasted-chicken-with-lemon-rosemary-garlic-butter/