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Why is it so satisfying to roast a whole chicken at home?  I have no idea, but it really is.  The whole house smells amazing.  Maybe it’s something about carving it at the end and serving it up with a bunch of delicious veggies and potatoes.  It’s just such a wholesome meal to feed your family.  I was always the kid to stand in the kitchen and sneak those small pieces off the cutting board when my dad was carving the chicken.  But who am I kidding?  I am still that kid.  My dad knows if I am over for dinner when he’s carving the chicken, it’s only a matter of time before his adult daughter transforms into the little girl who sneaks into the kitchen and steals a few bites with him before dinner is on the table.

On the other hand, I think many people are intimidated to roast a whole chicken.  But really…it’s super easy!  Many cook books have instructions on how to carve a chicken, so don’t let that part scare you away.  And of course, you can search online and I’ll bet you can even find a video on how to do it!

I roasted a whole chicken a few days ago.  My son came out of his room while it was in the oven and said, “It smells like heaven in here!!”.  I live for those reactions from my family.  Every time I roast a chicken, it’s a little different depending on what fresh herbs and vegetables I have on hand.  I grow my own rosemary and oregano, so lately I cook with those two a lot since they are fresh and ready to go.  I really need to get some sage and thyme to add to my herb garden as well.  This time around, I used rosemary and thyme, which are my two of my very favorite herbs to cook with.  Let me show you how I roast my chicken.

I always seem to leave something out of these photos. This time it was the chicken broth. Whoops!

1 whole chicken
1 lemon
1 small/medium onion
6 cloves garlic (less to taste)
Fresh rosemary
Fresh thyme
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Chicken Broth, about 20 oz.

Preheat your oven to 350F.  First, you’ll want to rinse the chicken and remove giblets and such from cavity if you bought a chicken with them.  Set the chicken aside.  Cut the lemon and onion into quarters.  Remove the paper from 3 or so cloves of garlic.  Now, stuff the cavity of the chicken with the garlic, lemon, onion and a few sprigs each of rosemary and thyme.

Next, you’ll finely chop about 2 tablespoons each of rosemary and thyme and put them in a small bowl.  Do the same to another 3 cloves of garlic and throw that in with the herbs.  Sane people would probably only use 2 cloves of garlic, but I am a little nutty and I love garlic!  Then drizzle in about a tablespoon of olive oil.  Add some salt and pepper to taste.  I like to use sea salt, but I was out.  I don’t know if it really makes a difference in the taste, I just like to pretend I’m fancy sometimes.  Stir it all up so it’s all coated in olive oil and looking like this:

So pretty! This is going to be one tasty chicken!

Now, you get to get your hands dirty!  Rub the mixture all over the outside of the chicken.  It sounds silly, but for years I would first rub the chicken with olive oil, then salt and pepper it, then sprinkle it with herbs.  Then, one day a big ol’ shiny light bulb clicked on above my head and I realized I could save time and a big mess of drippy oily olive oil if I did it this way.  Genius.  It’s the simple things.  Your chicken will be looking ready to jump in the oven at this point.

A few notes here before you pop this guy in the oven.  First, I usually don’t use a roasting rack/pan like this but I thought it would be easier if I did.  I realized it’s not any easier and I think the chicken turned out a little less moist than it does with my usual method.  So, if you’d like to try this without a roasting rack, simply put several stalks of celery and some whole (or halved lengthwise) carrots in the bottom of a 13×9 inch pan.  Then put your chicken on top of that.  Now, you have a vegetable roasting rack and you get the added nutrients from those veggies in your chicken and pan drippings!  I don’t know why I deviated from this method.  I am silly sometimes.

Next note here: I like to start the chicken breast side down and rotate it throughout the roasting process, ending breast side up, to ensure the juices are evenly distributed through the meat.

Now, pour some chicken broth in the bottom.  This will help keep your chicken moist.  Pop the pan in the oven and roast for about 3 hours, or until a thermometer inserted in the thigh away from the bone registers 180F.  Every 45 minutes or so, rotate the chicken on it’s side, then the other side, then on it’s back.  Add more chicken broth to the pan as needed.  There’s nothing worse than dry chicken!!

When the chicken is done and you take it out of the oven, DON’T carve it right away!  Sorry, but that bit is important.  If you start cutting it up right away, then all the juices will spill out and you’ll have dry chicken.  Let it stand for about 10 minutes so the juices settle.  Then, after you discard everything you stuffed the cavity with, grab a big fork and a big knife and go to town.

This was one delicious chicken!

Serve this up with some steamed veggies and potatoes.  It’s so so good, your family will love it!  Plus, your house should smell like heaven when you make this.  An added bonus.  Enjoy!!