As the weather cools down each year, this recipe for a simple, perfectly roasted chicken finds its way back into my regular dinner rotation. It’s always my go-to dinner on the first crisp Autumn day of the year, and I usually invite over one of my favorite people to help us enjoy it. Curious who that is? You’ll have to click play to find out! Spoiler alert: It’s not Chaser.
This roasted chicken is super flavorful thanks to a well seasoned herb butter that gets rubbed underneath the skin before cooking. Plus, we use a digital thermometer to tell us when the meat has come up to just the right temperature, resulting in a bird that’s always juicy and never dried out. We love to eat it on the first night fresh from the oven with a few simple sides, and then transform the leftovers into soups, salads, tacos or casseroles all week long. The possibilities are endless.
Bonus! This method also works exceptionally well with Turkey, and is definitely worth a try this Thanksgiving. Just be sure to stick the thermometer in the thickest part of the leg, rather than the breast.
- assorted fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary and/or sage*
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 carrot, scrubbed, trimmed and cut into large chunks
- 1 stalk celery, scrubbed, trimmed and cut into large chunks
- 2-3 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 shallot or small onion, cut into chunks
- 1/2 lemon, cut into pieces
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (eyeball it)
- kitchen twine
- instant read thermometer
- Remove the tough stems from the herbs, and chop them up so you have a little over 1 tablespoon. Add a scant tablespoon to a small bowl, reserving the rest of the herbs for later. Add a generous amount (about 1 teaspoon) of salt, freshly cracked pepper to taste, and the butter. Mix until the herbs are evenly distributed and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the chicken breast side up on the rack of a roasting pan. Remove the giblets from inside the cavity, and place them in the pan below if desired (once roasted they will help flavor a fantastic gravy or pan sauce). Use several paper towels to pat the chicken dry on all sides - being as thorough as possible. This will help the skin get golden brown and crispy.
- Rub the inside of the cavity with a generous amount of salt and pepper, then stuff the aromatics (carrot, celery, shallot, garlic, lemon and whole stems of herbs) inside until you can't fit anymore. Use your fingers to go underneath the skin and separate it from the breast meat, being careful not to let it tear (be mindful of your rings, ladies). Take half of the herb butter and stuff it underneath one side of the skin as far as it will go, then use your hands to press and spread it out. Repeat with the other side. Pull the flaps of skin up to cover the cavity, then criss cross the legs and tie it all together with a piece of kitchen twine. Drizzle the top with olive oil, then use your hands to rub it all over into every nook and cranny. Sprinkle with a light dusting of salt, pepper and the remaining chopped fresh herbs.
- Place the chicken in the oven on the middle rack, then stick the thermometer in the thickest part of the breast, being sure to aim it for the center of the meat. When the chicken reaches 140 degrees, crack the heat up to 400 and continue cooking until it reaches 160. Remove it from the oven immediately, as it will continue cooking as it sits.
- Let the chicken rest for at least 15 minutes. Use a sharp knife to remove the legs and wings, then use the breast bone as a guide to remove the entire breasts, one at a time. Slice the breasts into pieces, and separate the legs into drumsticks and thighs. Serve immediately.
- Dried herbs may be substituted for fresh, but since they are much stronger in flavor, you will want to use less.