Want to learn how to roast a chicken? The thought of it intimidates many people, but it really is an easy kitchen skill. I roast chicken often, make gravy, and my own stock for soups and other dishes. Here’s my easy method.
When I find whole chickens at a great price, such as .79/pound like the bird below, I stock up and pop them in the freezer. I’m usually able to use one chicken for 3 family dinners and about 3 days of lunches for our family. Or I put the cooked chicken in the freezer in 2 cup portions to use later.
How to Roast a Chicken
- roasting chicken
- 1 lemon – Cut the lemon in half.
- 1 head garlic – Cut the head of garlic in half. Remove most of the outer papery skin, but don’t worry if some is left on.
- 1 bunch parsley, about 12 sprigs
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Remove the bag of the bag of giblets that is inside of the chicken and discard in your trash. There is probably a reason the bag is in the chicken, but I discard.
3. Stuff the cavity of the bird with both halves of the garlic, the lemon, about 15 sprigs of parsley, and the salt/pepper mixture.
Note the wings sticking out below, simply tuck them under the chicken to avoid burning.
4. Place the chicken in a roasting pan, breast side up. On this particular night, I roasted some vegetables that I had on hand: potatoes and carrots. If you would like, spread the vegetables around the chicken.
5. Rub the butter all over the chicken. You can also brush on melted butter instead.
6. Break the leftover butter into tiny pieces and sprinkle over the chicken. Sprinkle additional salt and pepper over the chicken.
7. If you have kitchen string, tie the legs together to hold the garlic and lemon in the cavity. If you don’t have kitchen string, no worries, I have roasted many birds without tying the legs together.
8. Bake the chicken at 375 degrees. The time will depend on the size of the chicken and the temperature of your oven. It took this 7.4 lb chicken exactly 2 hours to roast. The nice thing about Perdue is that their roaster chickens come with pop-up thermometers that let you know when the chicken is done. Otherwise I would use a meat thermometer and roast the whole chicken until it reached an internal temperature of 180 degrees. The thermometer should be placed in the thickest part of the cut of meat without touching the bone, per Perdue’s guidelines.
10. When it is time to cut into the chicken, take a knife down the center breast bone and cut the breast out of the chicken. This is my favorite part. My kids and husband like the legs.
11. Cut as much meat of as possible. The evening I roasted this chicken, we had it for dinner with the roasted vegetables. I cut up 2 cups of chicken for a pot pie, I froze 2 cups to be used for soup at a later date and I used what was left to make chicken salad for lunches.
How to Make Chicken Gravy
I use a pan that can go from oven to stove top to roast chickens. I love my Le Creuset caste iron pan. It was a wedding gift and it is one of my most used pans. If you can use the same pan, it makes chicken gravy easy and there’s less to clean up. If you don’t have a roasting pan that can go from oven to stove top, then use a sauce or saute pan.
1. After your roasted chicken has cooled slightly, move it to another pan/tray to finish resting and to carve, leaving the chicken fat in the pan.
2. You should have 1/2 – 3/4 cup of chicken fat left in the roasting pan. Leave any brown bits in the pan, they add to the flavor.
3. Place roasting pan on the stove top over medium-low heat.
4. Add 3 tablespoons of butter and 3 tablespoons of flour to the chicken fat. Whisk together to prevent burning and to form a paste, about 2 minutes. Mixture will bubble.
5. Add 3-4 cups chicken stock. If you had 1/2 chicken fat, I would use 3 cups stock. If you had 3/4 cup chicken fat, I would use 4 cups of stock. You can always use less stock too, but I like to make a lot of gravy.
6. Continue whisking, scraping the bits at the bottom of pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Gravy is ready.
Side Note: DO NOT throw the carcass away!
After you have picked the bird clean of all of the meat, use it to make homemade chicken broth. It really stretches your dollar even further and is very easy to freeze.
Side Note: To rinse or not to rinse…That is the question. I have read that rinsing a chicken is counter-productive and can cause cross-contamination. The USDA does not suggest that you rinse chickens. There is a chance that you are just spreading the harmful bacteria all over your sink and kitchen and you are not really getting rid of it on your chicken. The bacteria is killed during the roasting stage. It is very important to roast the chicken to the recommended internal temperature. I choose NOT to rinse the chicken. Although, I still scrub the sink thoroughly after the bird is in the oven.