One of the reasons people don't like to cook whole chickens is the gross-out factor. The cold, clammy skin...pulling out the gizzards. It's not a romantic picture. However, the final result of a beautiful, golden roasted chicken IS a beautiful sight! So is the money you save by using an entire chicken and discovering how many meals you can get out of it. Not to mention the extra nutrients you get by using the bones to make your own homemade chicken stock.
Can you learn this? Of course you can. And with, I promise - minimal gagging. Let's begin. And, as usual- please read the WHOLE recipe before you start cooking.
A little reminder about cooking a chicken. While you're learning, start this a couple hours before you need to eat it or even the day before. It's not that difficult to slice off some chicken breast or pull off the drumsticks to warm up for dinner if you're done a little early. However, making small people sit around while the chicken finishes cooking is not fun for anyone (mostly you!).
Organic Mama Café’s EASY Oven Roasted Chicken
Preheat oven to 450° F. Place oven rack in the middle.
½ garlic bulb
½ c. olive oil or butter
2 T. Sea Salt
2 t. Pepper
1 1/2 T. dried Herbs of choice - rosemary, oregano, sage, thyme
1 whole organic chicken (defrosted - or it will definitely take longer to roast!)
2 small bowls
1 roasting pan - One with a roasting rack is great but a pyrex oven proof glass baking dish or similar will work too
1 sandwich size plastic bag (we don't usually use plastic but this is a one time thing)
1 large plastic bag (for chicken bones)
Do all the "clean" stuff first
1.Cut all veggies and place extra in the fridge
2. Place 1/3 cup Olive oil or butter in a small bowl
3. Place salt and pepper & herbs of choice in a bowl
NOW - get your chicken out and place it right next to your roasting pan
I pull the garbage straight over to where my pan is
4. Slide the chicken straight out of the package into the pan, minus the goupy juice. You still haven't touched the chicken at this point. Toss the bag right into that garbage can!
5. Open the small plastic bag - and keeping on hand clean, pull the innards out of the chicken (they're usually in a bag). Place them in the plastic bag and throw them in your freezer. We'll talk about how to use them next week.
6. With the same hand holding the chicken, add the ingredients in this order
olive oil or butter
salt and pepper & herbs (roll the bird around to coat the inside)
Shove the onions and garlic and lemon inside too
and toss the lemon inside too.
7. At this point, some people truss (tie up) their chicken. I don't have time for this nonsense - but I do pop the wings behind the chicken so they don't burn. Here's what you do. Place the chicken breast up (This is controversial. Some folks swear birds should be cooked breast down but this has always worked for me). Then, grab one of the birds wings and slide your hand up to the joint that attaches it to the body of the bird. Break the joint so that you can slip the wing under the cavity of the bird. I also break the joint in the middle of the wing to make this easier. When you're done, both wings should be folded behind the bird's body. See the final pic for an example.
Now, you can wash your hands because you're done touching the bird.
8. If you like, you can brush some olive oil on the bird's breast and toss 2 t of sea salt on it
9. Pop the bird in the oven and after 10-15 minutes, turn oven down to 350 degrees.
10. Cook bird 20 minutes for each pound. If you're not using a roasting rack, it may take a little longer. Just check the temp!
Mmmmm...golden brown bird. Delicious!
The safest way to ensure a bird is done is to use a thermometer. According to www.allrecipes.com, the bird is done when " inner thigh (close to but not touching the thigh bone) reads at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C)". If you don't have a meat thermometer, stick a knife into the thigh area. If you've cooked it for the full length of time and the juices comes out clear, it's usually done. "Done" meat should be tender and juicy and come apart easily.
Pull the bird out and let it rest for 10 minutes before you slice it - so the chicken will stay nice and juicy.
And there you have it. Easy chicken in 10 steps! When you've taken all the chicken off the bone (I usually do within two days of cooking it), throw the bones and reserve juice into the large plastic bag and freeze it. We'll use it to make chicken stock another time.