Roast Chicken

roast chicken

It’s easier than you’d think.

Recipes Published in
Bonnie Published by
  • 1 3lb Whole Organic or Free-Range Chicken, giblets removed
  • 4-6 strips of bacon, snipped in half
  • 2 T kosher salt
  • 1 T fresh ground pepper
  • 2 large navel orange, one cut in eighths, the other sliced
  • 6-8 sprigs rosemary
  • 4 T melted unsalted butter
  • Kitchen twine

First attempts at cooking a piece of meat always seem daunting, especially with chicken, whose salmonella factor never fails to frighten. Well, it’s time to pull your pants up and deal with the fact that you’re going to have to touch the chicken. Don’t worry, you can wash your hands when you’re through, and your dishes, and the counter… Oven fries, ratatouille, and/or arugula salad make mouth-watering complements for this classic comfort food. If you’re planning ahead, set the chicken on a plate, pat down with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper; leave uncovered in the fridge for a few hours (overnight at most) to dry out the skin so it gets extra crispy in the oven.

The How-To

Preheat oven to 500* and line a roasting pan with foil. Lay out your orange slices in the middle of the pan and top them with all but 2 sprigs of rosemary. Open the cavity between the legs and season with salt and pepper; then stuff it with the rest of the rosemary and orange pieces. Close the legs and tie them together with kitchen twine (I use a long twist tie if I can’t find any). Brush the chicken with 1/2 the melted butter, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Lay your bacon over the breast, and set your bird (bacon-breasted side up) on top of the oranges slices and rosemary in the roasting pan.

Place pan in top half of oven and roast for about 25 minutes or until the bacon starts to cook, curl up and fall off. Remove the bacon from the top of the chicken and baste the entire chicken, especially the breast, with the remainder of the melted butter. Return pan to oven and roast another 20-35 minutes (depending on how big your chicken is), or until the thigh juices run clear when you stab it with a knife. I start watching it when the skin on the legs starts to pull away from the ankle(?) joint. Let chicken rest whole on counter for 10-15 minutes before carving. It will continue to cook as it rests, and the juices will redistribute throughout the meat.

If you pull it out, carve it up, and it still looks a little pink, don’t freak out. Just put your pieces back in the same pan, settle them into the juices left over from roasting (keeping them skin-side up), and then put them back in a 350* oven for another 5-10 minutes. Problem solved.

If you’re making my oven fries with this, place the pan of fries on the bottom shelf of the oven when you take the chicken out after the first 25 minutes. When you remove the chick from the oven for good, flip your fries and return the pan to the oven to finish roasting while your chicken cools.

Variations on a Theme

You can stuff the bird with any combo of aromatics you want–garlic, woody-stemmed herbs like thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, citrus; I’ve even topped it with chorizo instead of bacon, just slide it under the skin over the breast.