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YIELDS:

4 servings

PREP TIME:

0 hours 20 mins

COOK TIME:

1 hours 45 mins

TOTAL TIME:

2 hours 50 mins

ingredients

1 5 – 5 1/2 Lb. whole chicken

2 Tbsp. Softened butter

Fresh sprigs of thyme, rosemary & parsley for stuffing

1/2 Yellow onion, cut in half

4 Stalks of Celery, washed

1 Tbsp. Onion Powder

1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder

2 Tsp. Dried thyme

1 Tbsp. Kosher salt

1 Tsp. Freshly ground black pepper

Cooking Spray

2 Lemon, cut in wedges

Additional fresh herbs to garnish and plating

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 425. Take a roasting pan and spray it with cooking spray to help with clean up.  Place the celery stalks in the bottom of the pan creating a rack for your chicken.  The bird will sit on those when roasting.  In a small bowl, mix the onion powder, garlic powder, dried thyme, salt and pepper.

2. Rinse chicken inside and out and pat dry.  Generously season the inside of the chicken with the seasoning mixture.  Put 2 wedges of lemon and 2 quarters of the onion, along with the fresh herbs inside the cavity of the bird.  Rub the outside of the chicken with the butter and then season all sides of the outside of the chicken with more of the seasoning.   Tuck wing tips underneath the chicken and tie legs together with kitchen twine.  (Just tie a bow so it is easy to remove after roasting.)

3. Place chicken on the celery stalks in the prepared roasting pan.  Place in oven and roast chicken until skin is deep golden brown and juices run clear when pierced between breast and leg (An instant-read thermometer should read 160 degrees when inserted in thickest part of a thigh.  Don’t touch the bone when taking the temperature.).  Roasting time will be approximately 1 hour 45 minutes – 2 hours.  If you see the top getting to dark before the thigh reaches 160 degrees, cover the chicken loosely with tin foil.  When the temperature is right and the chicken comes out of the oven,  let it rest 10 minutes covered loosely with foil before carving.

4. When it is time to serve the chicken, serve with fresh herbs on the plate and sprinkle some of the fresh, chopped thyme on top of the chicken.  Serve lemon wedges on the side and enjoy.

NOTE: I found myself in the supermarket the other day looking at chicken…whole chickens to be precise. I tried to remember the last time I actually roasted a whole chicken. I couldn’t remember and I kept thinking, “Did I ever roast a chicken?” LOL If you are like me, I’ve been buying cooked rotisserie chickens for ever. They are fast and easy and can be used in a million ways. I can use the meat in sandwiches, salads, stews, soups, casseroles, etc. So, why roast your own? I’m not kidding…I had to really dig deep to remember if I ever cooked one. (Winds up, yes, I had cooked a whole chicken…a million years ago.) I found a crumpled up recipe hanging out in my cooking “workbook” that was dated from when I last whipped one up. I can tell you, that was long before I found rotisserie chickens at my local supermarket.

Should I bother roasting my own? Would it really be any better? I mean the ones at the grocery store are still hot and cooked that day…they seemed fine. But once I started poking around, I found several things to note.

First, availability of whole chickens.  I had seen a few at the grocery store and that’s what started this whole project.  But, there were only a couple of whole birds.  As I checked other grocery stores over the next couple of weeks, I actually had a hard time finding whole, raw chickens but there were enitre displays of already cooked birds.  Interesting.  Maybe no one was cooking them?  Maybe I wasn’t the only one who hadn’t roasted a chicken in awhile?

Then, I picked up a chicken and checked the price.  Complete sticker shock!  The 4-5 pound birds I was able to find were all $11 – $13 dollars!!!  For a chicken?  That surprised me since I was sure it would be cheaper to cook my own.  Not to be deterred, I checked the weight of the already cooked birds (priced at $7.99 at the time of this writing) and they were all 2 pounds.  Aaahh, so that was the difference.  My average 5 pound chicken was costing on average $12 while the 2 pound cooked birds were about $8.   That meant if I bought the already cooked birds and got 5 Lbs. worth, it would cost $20.  That was an $8 difference for 5 pounds of chicken!  I thought that was significant and therefore, cooking my own was still winning.  (I knew there was a reason those cooked chickens were gone in a meal!!!)

Third, there was the time element and the supermarket was going to win every time.  It is certainly a lot faster to just grab a cooked one off the rack.  But what about taste?  And that is where the final test comes in.

I didn’t use the old recipe I had…it seemed a little too simple and I wanted to give this whole “roast your own chicken thing” a fair shot. So, I started mixing and playing with what I had in the fridge and this is the result.

While it definitely takes longer to roast your own, it should be noted that it almost all passive time.  Once prepped, you pop it in the oven and can go about your business until ready to serve.  I used pretty traditional flavors here and treated the bird with a little extra love buttering the outside for crispy skin and filling the cavity with lots of flavor.  I loved serving the chicken with lemon which just brought a whole new freshness to the dish.  You don’t even need gravy if you have the lemon wedges on the side.

I know you are waiting patiently for me to get to the bottom line:  Was it worth roasting my own chicken?  Yes…it was delicious, moist and flavorful.  The skin was crispy and the meat was just fabulous.  Will I roast chickens again?  Absolutely.  I would definitely do this if the chicken is to be the star of the meal and served right out of the oven.  It was so much superior to the store bought.  If I want to save money, I will definitely be roasting my own birds.  If I’m in a rush, it is the middle of the week and I have a million other things to do or other recipes to create, I guarantee you a rotisserie chicken is coming home with me. LOL.  As far as I’m concerned, there is room for both in my kitchen. 

I recommend trying your hand at roasting.  Serve the chicken with some steamed veggies and rice on the side.  Use the remaining meat in any of a dozen recipes like my Minnesota Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup and then use the carcass to make a flavorful stock. See the chicken stock recipe I created using the carcass from this experiment.  You’ll get many more meals from this one bird than you will from a store bought one and the sense of accomplishment is pretty great too.  Enjoy.

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