Leslie’s Roast Chicken

I’m typically roasting a 3 ½ to 5 lb. chicken (typically found at the grocery store) and this recipe has become one of my family’s favorites. It’s versatile in the sense that you can vary the seasonings and sides quite a bit and the possibilities for the leftover chicken are practically endless!  This meal is an awesome pick for the 2 X (feed your family twice meal) recommended for the weekends.

What you need in terms of ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken suitable for roasting, typically 3.5 – 5.5 lbs.
  • 2 large onions papery skin removed (1 ½ onions sliced into a think rounds, ½ an onion quartered to stuff inside of the cavity).
  • A bunch of herb sprigs you like (i.e. rosemary, sage, tarragon, basil) to put inside of the cavity.
  • 4 or 5 garlic cloves (peeled).
  • ½ of a navel orange or 1 large lemon (sliced into thin rounds, seeds removed – painful I know, but trust me you will be happy to have removed those seeds when it’s time to make stock later tonight), coated with olive oil & a little salt.
  • Olive oil (to baste the outside skin).
  • Kosher salt & ground pepper.
Prep items for your roasted chicken.
Prep items for your fabulous roast chicken.

Steps to get this onto your table:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 425° degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place a ‘bed’ of onion rounds on the bottom of a large roasting pan (lightly sprayed with coconut or another vegetable oil to make clean up later easier).
  3. Place your chicken on top of the bed of onions so that they’re protecting the bird from touching the bottom of the pan.

    Bed of onions.
    Bed of onions for your chicken or pork to roast on.
  4. Drizzle a thin layer of olive oil onto the chicken, rub evenly to coat the exposed skin & sprinkle generously with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
  5. Gently, separate the skin that covers the breasts and slide the olive oil coated orange or lemon rounds to cover the breast meat (underneath the skin). If you mess up here and poke a hole or two, don’t worry about it. Just try to protect the breast meat – which cooks faster than everything else with a layer of orange or lemon slices (I’ve also used onion pieces, prosciutto, etc).
  6. Stuff the garlic cloves in between the skin and the thighs (there’s two deep pockets on each side here to work with).
  7. Stuff the cavity with your quartered onion pieces, sprigs of herbs & if you have any remaining lemon or orange pieces put those in also.
  8. Place the chicken in the oven for about 50  – 55 minutes. This varies based on size of your chicken, I always start checking the temperature at around 47 minutes, use a thermometer ideally (insert into the thickest part of the thigh & look for a temperature of 165° Fahrenheit in the thickest part of the thigh). If you don’t have a thermometer, use a fork or knife to cut into the area near the thigh joint and see if the juices run clear. If not, put back in the oven and check again in 5-minute increments.
  9. Put the chicken somewhere ‘off heat’ (i.e. not on your stovetop) to let it rest for about 10 – 15 minutes.  Trust me, It’s worth it…plus you’ll need this time to assemble your family into the kitchen anyway.
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Roast chicken, kids & grown up plates.

After you’ve finished, don’t throw away those bones just yet!  If you’re inclined, use the bones to make a lovely stock to keep on hand in your freezer.

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