Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Roasting a Chicken

When I first tried roasting a chicken, I was surprised at how easy it was.  It was a bit intimidating but once I figured things out, it's such an easy way to get at least 2 meals out of, it's something I try to do at least monthly if not more often.  It's so easy to pick up those already-roasted chickens at the grocery store, but do you know what they put on those?  I've heard they are some of the unhealthiest foods after all the additives (like MSG) and other bad-for-your things are rubbed on them.  Some are better than others, I'm sure, so I will be checking ingredients next time I am in the store.  But by roasting my own chicken I can choose organic and control what ingredients are put on it.
I bought Coleman Organic chicken at Costco.  The price is high at first glance (around $20 for two chickens) but when I figured out that I got three or more meals out of those two after making homemade stock and chicken noodle soup (after a meal of just plain chicken), it's worth it to me.
First, you want to take the chickens and rinse them, inside and out.  Pull out the bag of giblets that are inside.  You may choose to use those in your stock- especially being organic, they have lots of nutrients in them that you don't want to waste.  I learned a lot about that in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.  I rinse those also and save them in a container for when I make chicken stock.

How to Roast a Chicken

 Rinse chickens
 Remove giblet bags from cavity of chickens
 washed and patted dry with paper towels- ready for seasoning
The giblets and necks from the bags, rinsed

Now is the time to add flavor.  I use onions, garlic, lemon and orange wedges inside the chicken cavity.  This adds lots of flavor to the gravy, especially.

 I didn't need quite this many wedges- the chickens aren't the size of turkeys!

Placed in the roasting pan.  I would have tied the legs together with twine, but I was out of it.
You also need to tuck the wings under the front of the chicken, so they don't burn.  In the photo above, you can see the chicken on the left is tucked but his buddy on the right's wings are hanging out, waiting to burn.
Then add your spices- I rubbed the outside of the chickens with basil, oregano, thyme, and drizzled a bit of olive oil to rub it all in.
One hour and 15 minutes later at 350 degrees F,
Use a thermometer to check the temp at the thickest part of the breast or thigh.  The magic number you want is 165.  These were perfectly done.  Your oven may vary though.
 Carving tip- cut off the whole breast and then cut into chunks or slices on the cutting board
 For the gravy, strain the juices from the roasting pan into a saucepan- you could also make it in the bottom of the roasting pan on top of two burners too, if you like chunks in your gravy.
Add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup flour (probably closer to 1/2 with two chickens) and whisk until it makes a thick paste-like substance- don't let this burn!  This is a roux.
 Then you can add water and salt or chicken broth and whisk until it's the proper consistency of gravy.
I've made it successfully this way multiple times, but this time for some reason the gravy separated into weird chunks.  This happened after the above picture.  What I think happened is I didn't make the roux properly and added water too soon- it seemed to work, but the gravy base didn't set up properly or something.  My husband still put it on his food and it was yummy (pure fat, of course it is!)  It has fats and vitamins our bodies need.
 Serve with a vegetable, oven fries (recipe from the Duggar family below) and organic ketchup

Duggar's Oven Fries

  • One potato per person you are serving, sliced lengthwise
  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic powder, salt and pepper (or chili pepper if desired)  (I used seasoned salt)

 Place potatoes in large-zip top bag and drizzle with olive oil.  Shake and move bag so they are coated in oil.  Spread potatoes onto baking sheet and sprinkle with seasoning of choice.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
These could have used a few more minutes in the oven, but they were still yummy.

Bon appétit


  1. I actually cook my chicken and turkey breast side down! The meat is unbelievably tender and juicy. You won't get the browned-skinned, but no worries, as we don't eat it anyways.

    1. Good idea, Deana, I'll have to try that!