This site is all about the basics, and roast chicken is definitely a delicious and basic recipe. Roasting makes chicken juicy, succulent, and flavorful with crispy, savory skin. It was a staple in our house growing up. Now I love making it when the weather is cold and the oven heats up the kitchen and we can sit down to a delicious hearty meal that doesn’t require much prep on my part. And Meyer lemon adds a sweet tang to the skin, meat, and the creamy vegetables bathed in savory juices.
I use a technique I learned from Gwyneth Paltrow’s first cookbook, My Father’s Daughter. It’s a bit like rotisserie chicken which makes the meat even juicer. And of course, continuing with my love of Meyer lemons this citrus season, this is full of bright flavor! And let me tell you, the delicious aromas of roasting chicken, herbs, and veggies spreading around the house is amazing.
What to Look for in a Chicken
There are different types of cooking chickens, which I will absolutely cover down the road. The best to use for roasting is a “roaster”, although using a “fryer” or “broiler” can work also. The type of chicken will be written on the packaging. And as for kosher versus non-kosher, koshering adds salt to the chicken, so just keep that in mind when using salt in the recipe.
Preparing a chicken for roasting is decently simple. There’s no need to wash the chicken, but you may need to reach into the cavity to get the bag of innards. Not all chickens have them, but it’s good to check before the plastic bag gets baked into the chicken.
Place it in a roasting pan or baking dish (as you can see I did because I can’t afford a nice roasting pan yet…). Rub the chicken skin with butter, salt, pepper, paprika, and a squeeze of lemon juice under the skin (just wiggle your fingers under the skin—it will pull away from the meat). Then stuff the whole herbs and the lemon halves in the cavity. You may notice that I don’t actually have any thyme in these photos—the thyme went bad (insert bad jokes here). So I used about a teaspoon of dried thyme and mixed it in with the butter.
Once you’ve spread the butter inside and out, put the chicken on its side and set the time for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, switch it to the other side. The easiest way to switch the chicken is to get the tongs into the cavity and use a fork or another set of tongs at the neck. Place the chicken on its back for 10 minutes, then put the breast down for 10 minutes.
Just to be safe, you should get the internal temperature of the chicken breast to 165°, although I usually take it out at 160° so that it get up to 165° while it’s resting for 15 minutes and won’t be too dry. As you can see in the first photo of this blog, I’m still trying to figure out how to work with my new oven because the skin didn’t get quite as brown as it usually does.
As for the veggies, you can peel the veggies or not. I usually don’t because 1) it saves time and 2) I actually like the skin of carrots and sweet potatoes (they’re good for you, too!).One last note: use unsalted butter, especially if you’re using a koshered chicken. This lets you control the amount of salt in/on the chicken.
- 1 3-5 pound roasting chicken
- 1 sweet potato
- 6 small, waxy potatoes
- 2 carrots cut into large pieces
- 1 ½ Tbsp. of unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 tsp. of olive oil
- 2 tsp. of pepper
- 2 tsp. of salt
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 2 Meyer lemons, cut in half
- Juice of ½ a Meyer lemon
- 4 springs of thyme and rosemary
- 1 small bulb of garlic with the top cut off
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Chop the vegetables into large chunks. Toss with olive oil, and 1 tsp. of salt and pepper, and the juice of half a Meyer lemon.
- Unwrap the chicken and take out the gizzard bag. Place the chicken in roasting pan over the chopped vegetables.
- Mix the butter with the salt, pepper, and paprika and spread it over the chicken inside and out and under the skin.
- Stick the lemon halves, half bulb of garlic, and the herbs inside the chicken’s cavity.
- Place the roasting pan into the oven.
- Roast the chicken on each side for 25 minutes, then the back for 10 minutes and the breast for 10 minutes until the internal temperature is 160° or the skin is dark enough for you.
- Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes, then carve and serve!
Roasting chicken is the perfect way to warm up your kitchen and your dinner on a cold night, and the Meyer lemons brighten up the entire dish! ‘Till next time!