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Whole Roasted Chicken

posted Jan 15, 2016, 8:16 AM by

Nothing is cozier than a winter afternoon at home with a whole chicken roasting in the oven. If you’ve never roasted a chicken before, you may be intimidated, but there’s no need to be. Roasting a whole chicken is simple, requires little time and effort from you, and is a great way to kick start your weekly meal plan. 

Follow these simple steps for roasting a chicken: 

1. Purchase a whole chicken. If your local grocery store is having a sale, you may want to buy several and freeze all but one for later.

2. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

3. Remove the giblets. When you buy a whole chicken, it often comes with extra parts known as giblets which may be placed inside the chicken’s cavity, perhaps in a plastic bag. Simply reach inside, pull out the giblets, and discard or set aside for later.

4. Pat the chicken’s skin gently with a paper towel to remove some of the moisture, then place the chicken in a large cast iron skillet or roasting pan breast side up.

5. Sprinkle the chicken liberally with salt, pepper, and dried rosemary, sage, thyme, or other herbs of your choice. If you’d like, you can add more to the cavity that you previously emptied, along with half of a sliced lemon, lime, or orange, half of a whole onion, or even some garlic.

6. Place the chicken in the oven and roast until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh (but not touching the bone) reads 165°F.

7. Remove chicken, place on a cutting board, and let it rest for about 15 minutes before carving.

While you’re at it, you may want to throw some roasted veggies in the oven as a side dish. Potatoes, carrots, and Brussels sprouts are all delicious with roast chicken.

Roasting a whole chicken may take an hour or two, but you really only need to be actively involved for about 10 minutes, making it the perfect dinner for a Saturday or Sunday when you’re hanging out at home. 

Perhaps the best part about roasting a whole chicken is the leftovers. After dinner, spend about 15 minutes removing all the leftover chicken from the bone and cutting it into smaller pieces. I typically discard the skin because I find it doesn’t reheat well. There are so many uses for leftover chicken: as a topping for salads, a stuffing for sandwiches, a protein source for a hearty soup, an ingredient in enchiladas or quesadillas, or in chicken pot pie. The rest of my week’s meals are a cinch when I am well stocked with leftover chicken.

To really up your culinary game, don’t discard the chicken bones & carcass-make homemade stock! 
Here are the simple steps: 

1. Place all of the leftover bones/carcass into the bottom of a large pot or slow cooker.

2. If available, add large chunks of an aromatic vegetable such as carrot, onion, garlic, or celery.

3. Cover the chicken bones/carcass and vegetables completely with water. Add 1-2 bay leaves.

4. On the stove top, heat the mixture until the water is boiling, and then decrease the heat until the liquid is just simmering. Simmer for at least 3 hours. If using the slow cooker, cover and set to the high setting and cook for a minimum of 3 hours. The longer it simmers, the better it is!

5. After at least 3 hours of simmering, remove the mixture from the heat, uncover, and allow to partially cool. Warning, it will be too hot to handle at first!

6. Remove the large bones/carcass and vegetable pieces and discard. (Tip: place the bones/carcass and vegetables in a large zip top bag before throwing away to prevent a foul odor in your trash can).

7. Strain liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. Add anything caught in the sieve to your large zip top bag filled with the bones. Distribute broth into smaller containers. Refrigerate and use within 1 week or freeze and use within 3 months.

You can use your fresh or frozen and defrosted homemade chicken stock in any recipe that calls for canned stock. Homemade stock is much more flavorful and is typically better for you than store bought stock. Since this recipe does not call for any salt, pepper, or other strong flavorings, the types of dishes that you can create from this stock truly are endless! Just keep in mind that you will need to season those dishes very well. 

We hope you give roast chicken a try this winter!