There is nothing as satisfying as making and serving a whole roast chicken for dinner. It looks fancy and is especially impressive when you have guests coming over. It’s actually very easy to make; you rub the marinade into the chicken and just bake it until it browns. The combination of lemon and rosemary is fabulous – the two flavors are meant to be and go well together.
My neighbor had dropped off a bunch of fresh herbs, and the rosemary smelled the most potent and inspired me to make this dish. I love fresh herbs, and I know this sounds weird, but I have a fantasy of making perfumes out of herbs and spraying myself with it! When I was young, I used to take fresh mint and curry leaves from my grandma’s yard, add it to a pot of water, and pretend I was cooking 🙂
Hope you enjoy making this whole chicken roast. I like to add in chopped roasting vegetables into the same pan. Your home will smell wonderful and herb-y while the chicken is cooking – ahhhhh.
- 1 whole organic chicken, about 3-4 lbs – rinsed and patted dry
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 3 lemons
- 5-6 sprigs of rosemary
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped finely
- 1 large onion, chopped
- roasting vegetables, chopped (1 large onion, 4 whole carrots, 5 large red potatoes)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- toothpicks or butcher’s twine
Make the marinade by placing the softened butter in a bowl. Add the zest of two lemons and rosemary that’s been chopped very finely. Add the chopped garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Mix it up.
Make sure the chicken is completely dry by patting it with a paper towel. Cut off any excess fat and make sure there’s no weird loose parts inside the chicken! Salt the outside and inside of the chicken liberally. Then, take the marinade and rub it all over the chicken. Show your chicken some love by slathering the buttery marinade all over. Yes, this part is messy but can be therapeutic if you think positively. I recommend gloves for the squeamish.
Ok this part is a little up close and personal, but it has to be done to achieve excellent flavor! Start to lift up the skin near the back of the chicken. Slide your fingers in and loosen up the skin. Take the marinade and get it in there! Do the same for the other side.
Cut up the lemons in half (including the one with the rind missing) and stuff them inside the chicken. Place the chopped onion and rosemary inside the chicken too.
I refrigerated the chicken overnight so the marinade sets in nicely. The butter looks solidified in the picture above because it just came out of the fridge. Prepare the chicken for baking by:
– Placing it breast side up
– Putting foil on the tips of the legs and the tips of the wings, as they brown quickly
– Take butcher’s twine and tuck the wings and legs in together for a cleaner look, you don’t have to do this – it’s just for aesthetics. I didn’t have any twine, so I took toothpicks and stabbed the wings with it so they weren’t flying outwards. I also took toothpicks to hold the legs close to the body.
– Fill the roasting pan with a little bit of water if you are using a rack.
– I closed the cavity using toothpicks. You can alternatively leave it open.
Get the veggies ready by chopping them up into chunks. I used red potatoes, onions, and carrots.
Stick the whole chicken in the oven at 400 degrees, breast side up, Expect to cook it for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes. Or, if you’re using a meat thermometer, it should read 160 degrees at the thickest part of the meat. I added the vegetables in the pan after a half hour so they would not become super mushy and overcook.
Took a quick peek at the chicken to see how it’s doing.
This is an hour into cooking, looking nice and brown! The vegetables also look like they’re roasting nicely. At this point, you can start basting it every 15 minutes. My chicken and vegetables were done at the 1 hr 30 minute mark.
Here is the finished product. I arranged the vegetables around the chicken and garnished with rosemary sprigs and lemons. The chicken was a hit with my guests and was gobbled up in 20 minutes! Hope you feel confident enough to make a whole chicken, it honestly is very easy to make!
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