There is something so satisfying about cooking a whole bird. From Cornish Hens to turkey, nothing tops that joy of pulling out a beautifully browned bird. The processes between purchasing, assembling, cooking, and consuming said bird can be quite intimidating.
I speak from experience. I have ruined my fair share of Cornish Hens and whole chickens. Trust me. I have under cooked and over cooked. And all other sorts of crazy things.
However, a while ago, I swore off buying chicken breasts. Week after week, it just gets too derned expensive. Particularly if you buy organic! I have heard many a grandmother say that the best way to cook chicken for your family is by purchasing a whole chicken and using it for all its worth. I finally decided to give it a try about a year and a half ago and I became hooked.
One 3 to 4 lb chicken lasts us through several meals. But wait! There’s more. You can use the carcass (and giblets) to make stocks. (Stay tuned for a post on making and freezing chicken stock and vegetable stock to get you through the winter).
Easy Roast Chicken
Yields: 8 servings
Time: 10 minute prep | 1 hour 15 minute cook + 15 minute rest time
3-4 pound whole turkey
1/2 onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves
1 lemon, halved
2 TBS unsalted butter, melted OR 2 TBS canola oil
1 TBS fresh herbs (sage, rosemary, bay, and/or thyme), minced
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
2. Remove the giblets (should be all kept in a bag… it’s okay if you have to close your eyes to remove them. You’re in good company). Rinse and pat dry the inside and outside of the bird, making sure that it is very dry.
3. Place the garlic cloves, lemon, and onion into the cavity of the bird. Bind the legs of the bird using kitchen twine (I cross the legs and twisty-turny the twine until it is secure).
4. In a small bowl, combine the herbs and about 1 TBS salt and about 2 tsps pepper. Pour in the melted butter or oil. Using a basting brush, brush the herb mixture on every square inch of the bird.
5. Place into a roasting pan and cook for an hour to an hour and 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
6. Remove from oven and allow the chicken to rest for 15 minutes.*
7. Slice chicken and serve immediately. Save the onion, garlic, and carcass for later to make a stock.*
1. I cannot stress how important this rest time is! I have ruined many a chicken until I figured out that I really do have to let it sit to finish cooking!
2. If I don’t immediately begin making stock, I store mine in a large bag in the fridge, if I can get to it within the next few days, or I place it in the freezer until I have time.