Does roasting a whole chicken seem intimidating to you?
That is the response I get from most people when I ask them why they don’t do it. They just don’t know how. Well, I am here to solve that!
I have been cooking up lots of roast chickens to master the easiest recipe just for you. It is actually much easier than cooking any other piece of the chicken on its own, plus it tastes way better! You get deliciously crispy skin with this recipe, which any “good” dietitian would tell you to throw away … but I won’t do that. I love it (don’t tell).
The only thing you need when roasting a whole chicken is a bit more time to cook it (~1.5 hrs). So yes, you have to plan a bit! Or, you can butterfly the chicken (cut out its backbone and flatten it) to cut the cooking time in half (40-50 min). Here’s a video that shows you how to do that.
Roasting a whole chicken is much more economical than buying chicken parts.
I love to roast lots of vegetables while I am roasting the chicken. If you are like me and have a tendency to really pack the roasting pan with vegetables (don’t follow my example in the picture) you would be better off roasting some on a separate pan, as they don’t cook overly well when packed in with the chicken. I love doing a medley of root vegetables, such as beets, celery root, parsnips, onions and yams. Put these vegetables in about 40-50 min before the chicken is done (including the resting time).
You can make gravy from the drippings if you like, but I have never been the hugest gravy fan so I usually don’t. But, an absolute must is to save the chicken bones for making stock. Roasting the bones first can add extra flavour. The best thing to do is to keep a freezer bag in the freezer to store all your chicken bones and vegetable scraps (peels, ends of onions, celery, carrots etc), then use it all to make a simple stock!
The recipe below is very simple — and very delicious. If you feel like putting a little more effort in, you can stuff the cavity of the chicken with a lemon (if you poke it with a fork all over and warm it in the microwave for about 45 seconds if will impart more flavour) and some fresh herbs, such as rosemary. A touch of smoked paprika rubbed into the chicken with the oil and garlic is great as well.
- 1 whole chicken (~1.5 kg)
- olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- salt and pepper
- (optional - 2 stalks celery, 1 onion, 2 parsnips, 2 carrots -- all chopped)
- Leave the chicken out for about 30 min prior to roasting (it will cook more evenly).
- Preheat your oven to 475 F.
- Prepare your vegetables (if using) and toss in cooking oil with salt and pepper, place in a large roasting pan.
- Rub the chicken with olive oil and crushed garlic, sprinkle well with salt and fresh ground pepper.
- Place chicken in roasting pan (on vegetables if using) and put into the hot oven.
- Turn the oven down to 400 F right after putting the bird in.
- Roast for about 1 hr 30 min or until the thickest part (test several places) reaches 180 F.
- Turn the roasting pan and baste the chicken half-way through cooking (or once there is enough juices to do so), if the vegetables look dry stir them and add a little water to the pan.
- Once the chicken is cooked remove it from the oven and cover it in foil.
- Let it rest for 10-15 min before carving. The temperature should rise another 5 F or so.