Have you ever felt intimidated by the idea of a whole roasted chicken? Me too. But here I am to ease your hesitations! Something about preparing the chicken and making sure it cooked all the way through used to make me uneasy. But after giving it a few tries over the last year, I’ve learned those nerves were slightly unnecessary! Now we’ll get to the recipe in due time, but first let’s chat!
Why Make a Whole Roasted Chicken?
First things first: It’s an incredibly cost effective way to feed you and your family a variety of meat. For example I could buy one pound packages each of organic chicken thighs, breasts and drumsticks and that would total at about 20-30 dollars. OR I could buy a 3-5 lb organic whole chicken for about 8-15 dollars. One whole chicken is about 6-10 servings of meat and can be used in a variety of different recipes through a week. Even better, once all the meat has been removed, you can use the bones for making a homemade chicken stock. Which means that 8 to 15 dollars goes even further!
Which brings me into reason 2 for making a whole roasted chicken: sustainability. The sustainability behind buying a whole chicken versus individual cuts of meat is multi-faceted.
For one: way way way less packaging — and no styrofoam.
Secondly: you get the chance to use the entire chicken, bones included. Bear with me if this sounds a little woo-woo, but there is a way to respectfully and responsibly consume meat. Buying and using a whole chicken is a great way to respect and use all the nutrients that chicken has to offer.
And lastly: the opportunity to support a local farmer. Depending on where you live, there might be a responsible/sustainable local farm to get your chicken from, which in turn supports your local economy.
So Why Does Variety Matter?
Food variety is so beneficial to our gut flora and to consuming adequate amounts of micronutrients. It took sometime to become versed in food variety. I spent years writing the same grocery list with a standard set of produce, nuts/grains, yogurt and one type of meat: boneless skinless (BS) chicken breast. And while there are a list of nutritional benefits in BS chicken, there are also a lot of great micronutrients missing from it. Getting a variety of different meats from different parts of the animal is a great way to diversify your micronutrient intake. Yes, darker cuts of meat have more fat, but they also contain important fat soluble vitamins like vitamin K. Fat is a widely under consumed macronutrient but it’s crucial for the absorption of nutrients and for the regulation of other bodily functions.
Alright, Let’s Get Those Ovens Preheating!
Okay, so you want to roast a chicken. Things you’ll need include a cast iron skillet or roasting pan, butcher’s twine, fresh herbs, a whole lemon, grass-fed butter, a whole bunch of garlic and some salt and pepper. Oh, and a 3-5 lb chicken, of course!
Unwrap your chicken and remove the giblets if they aren’t already. Rinse the chicken in cold water, pat dry, and place into your seasoned skillet or lightly oiled pan. Generously season the chicken with sea salt and black pepper. Next slice the full bunch of garlic in half, placing one half inside the chicken with a bunch of fresh herbs (I used rosemary and thyme) and 1/2 of a lemon.
With a sharp knife or kitchen scissors, cut a hole in the skin on both sides near where the breast meets the wing. Next, you’ll melt 1/2 a stick of grass-fed butter and drizzle the butter over the chicken and into the two holes you cut. Place the chicken in the oven and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes for a 5 lb chicken, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees and the juices are clear.
Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes before carving and serving or packaging into air tight containers for future meals. We had regular roasted chicken with potatoes and broccoli one night, then the next I shredded up leftovers and placed them into the skillet with seasoning to make chicken tacos! Lastly, save those bones! I have included the simple how-to on making homemade chicken broth!
Sounds simple enough, right? I have faith in you, friend! Let’s get cooking!
Lemon and Herb Whole Roasted Chicken
Make a fragrant, flavorful and juicy whole roasted chicken!
- 1 3-5 lb whole chicken
- 1 lemon
- 1 bunch garlic
- 1/2 stick grass fed butter
- 1/4 cup filtered water
- sea salt
- black pepper
- fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, etc)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice your lemon and garlic bunch into halves and melt the butter.
Remove chicken from the packaging and rinse under cold water. Pat dry and place into a seasoned cast iron skillet or a lightly oiled roasting pan. Add 1/4 cup filtered water to the pan and generously season the chicken with sea salt and black pepper.
Add fresh herbs, 1/2 of the garlic bunch and 1/2 of the lemon to the inside of the chicken. Cut a small hole in the skin on both sides. Drizzle the chicken with the melted butter, pouring some into the small holes.
Place the other half of the lemon and garlic into the skillet and add the chicken to the oven.
Bake for 1.5 hours (for a 5 lb chicken), or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees and the juices are running clear.
Remove from oven and let is for a full 15 minutes before cutting and serving. Store chicken in air tight containers for unto 5 days. Save the bones for making chicken broth. (optional, see below)
Making homemade chicken stock
In a large pot, heat 1 tbsp oil or butter and add chunked celery, carrots, fennel, white onion, garlic cloves, sea salt and black pepper. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add the leftover bones and meat from the chicken and 6 cups of filtered water. Bring to a simmer and add fresh herbs as desired. Let simmer for at least 4 hours. The longer you simmer the more flavorful the broth.
Ladle the liquids into mason jars through a strainer and let cool in the fridge over night before placing into the freezer for storage.