Friday, November 4, 2011

Herb Roasted Chicken

I've been on a roasted chicken kick lately.

Ever since I roasted my first chicken about a month ago, I've been a little obsessed.

But how can you blame me? A whole chicken costs about as much as 2 or 3 breasts by themselves usually, and goes easily twice as far. Plus the whole roasting process is kind of fun in some twisted way... sort of therapeutic, the way kneading bread can be. Or maybe I just love pulling a roasted bird out of the oven, seeing its skin all perfectly brown and crispy, its savory aroma filling my apartment.

Plus, I figure it's good practice for the Thanksgiving turkey I'll roast in a year or two. :)

When I stumbled upon this recipe while watching Food Network videos online one night, I knew I had to try it. My last roasted bird was a little more complicated than I wanted it to be, and I was on the hunt for a simpler recipe that still packed great flavor. This recipe definitely delivered on that one. Getting the seasonings up under the skin was a genius move, because the usually dry and flavorless breasts were moist and juicy and packed with so much flavor. And the process could not be simpler. With classic flavors, moist results, and an easy method, I think this might be my go-to poultry recipe for when I'm finally ready to tackle that Thanksgiving turkey!

Herb Roasted Chicken
slightly adapted from Anne Burreell at the
yields 2 whole chickens

5 sprigs rosemary, picked and finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
10 sage leaves, picked and finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
3 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
pinch red pepper flakes
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 whole chickens about 3 1/2 pounds each
kosher salt
1 large or 2 small onions, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
3 ribs celery, cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 bay leaves
1 bundle fresh thyme (about 10 sprigs tied together with string)
4 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
2 tablespoons corn starch

Special Equipment: butcher's twine

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
2. In a small bowl, combine the rosemary, sage, garlic, red pepper flakes, and olive oil. Season generously with salt. Dry the outside chickens with paper towels (this will ensure better browning). Using your fingertips, gently work your way under the skin of the chickens, separating the skin from the breasts to create a pocket. Smear the herb paste under the skin of both chickens. Use all of the paste and try to distribute evenly. Drizzle each chicken with olive oil and massage into the skin. Sprinkle the chickens generously with salt. Truss each chicken. (If you've never trussed a chicken before, Anne does a great job of demonstrating the technique in this video.)
3. Place the diced veggies, bay leaves, and thyme bundle in a pan large enough to accommodate both chickens without touching. Add 2 cups of chicken stock and season generously with salt. Arrange the chickens on top of the veggies and place in the preheated oven. 
4. After about 15 minutes of cooking, the skin on the chickens should be starting to get nice and brown. Lower the heat to 375 and continue roasting. After another 15 minutes, turn the chickens over to brown the bottom. If most of the liquid has absorbed, add another cup of chicken stock and return to the oven. The chickens should brown on the bottom after about 15 minutes - remove from the oven and turn over again. Roast for an additional 15 minutes. Check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer in the crease between the thigh and the breast (careful not to let the thermometer probe touch bone, or you will get an inaccurate reading). If the temperature reads less than 160 degrees, return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes at a time until the chicken reaches this temperature. Once this temperature has been reached, remove the chickens to a serving platter and cover loosely with foil. Allow to sit at least 10-15 minutes before carving. 
5. After the chickens have been removed from the roasting pan, skim the excess fat from the liquid. One easy way to do this is to prop up one side of the pan and allow the juices to run from the bottom, then skim the fat off the top. Put the roasting pan on a burner, add the wine, bring to medium heat and reduce by half. Add the remaining chicken stock and add salt to taste. If desired, strain the veggies out of the gravy. Bring the liquid to a boil. Meanwhile, dissolve the cornstarch in 1-2 tablespoons of cold water. Add the cornstarch to the chicken broth mixture and continue to boil. Once the gravy has reached the desired consistency and flavor, remove to your desired serving vessel. 
6. To carve the chicken, first cut off the twine. Pull the thigh and leg away from the chicken until the thigh bone "pops" out of the socket (this is also a sign that the chicken is cooked properly). Separate the thigh and drumstick. Remove the breasts by feeling for the ridge of the breastbone in the center of the bird and cutting around the rib cage. Arrange the chicken on a serving platter and serve!


  1. Cooking chicken over bone is actually more delicious coz the chicken remains moist and more flavourful. This roasted chicken sounds delicious... :)

  2. chicken looks delicious wonderfully done

  3. This chicken looks delicious! Love the herbs you used, ibet this chicken has great flavor!

  4. I roasted my first chicken (s) last fall and I was completely obsessed with it too! I figure it's very cost effective and I can use the bones and remnants to make my own stock. The bones etc even freeze so I can make the stock when the mood hits! Your chicken looks delicious! I may have to roast one this week. :)


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