Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Roast Chicken With Herbed Garlic Butter

When the weather gets really cold, comfort food like a good roast chicken really does the trick.  I've tried all kinds of methods to make roast chicken, but this one has become my family's favourite and always results in moist, tasty meat. Sometimes I roast a chicken up just to strip off the meat to turn into something else. You can use the carcass to make soup, and with all the fixings a single bird should easily feed a family of 4.


One 3-4 lb (1.5-2 kg) chicken
Olive oil
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary, plus a few stalks
1 tbsp finely chopped sage
cracked black pepper & salt
smoked paprika (if you don't have it, regular paprika is fine)
2 stalks celery
1 large carrot
1 onion
1 lemon


Take your chicken out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for about 30 minutes.  Pre-heat the oven to 375 F.

In a small bowl, mash up the butter, garlic cloves, 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary, chopped sage, some cracked pepper, and zest from the rind of your lemon.

Dry your chicken off with paper towels. Using your fingers, loosen the skin around the breast and the legs, being careful not to tear it.

Tuck the butter under the skin about a tablespoon at a time, pushing it up as gently as you can and then, with your hand on the top of the skin, pushing the butter along the breast as far as it will go. Do the same with the legs, using up all the butter.  Wash your hands and set the chicken aside on a plate.

In a roasting pan, arrange your vegetables like a nest. Set the chicken right on top of them. The vegetables keep your chicken from boiling in it's own juices and add flavour to the gravy. As you can see, I don't have a traditional roasting pan but the glass dish that I use seems to work just fine.

Drizzle olive oil all over the chicken and with your hands, rub it all over. Wash your hands, and then sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, and paprika. Put a few stalks of rosemary and 1/2 a lemon inside the bird.

(*if you make roast potatoes, put the lemon in the water with the potatoes when you par boil them. Remove the lemon, pierce it a few times, and stick the hot lemon in the cavity of the chicken)

Using kitchen twine (you can find it at the grocery store in the kitchen gadgets aisle) tie up the legs together. I just twist one end around one leg, the other end around the other, and tie it up.

Once your chicken is trussed up, it's ready for the oven. Don't skip this step-trussing up the legs keeps all that butter you slathered on them in the bird instead of running out into the pan. Put about 1/2 cup water or white wine in the bottom of the pan.

Put the lid on (or tent the bird in foil if you have a pan like mine) and place the bird in the oven.  Roast it for about 1 hour 45 minutes - 2 hours, taking the foil off after 1 hr 15 minutes, so that the skin will brown. You don't want it to burn so if it gets too brown at any point, just put the foil back on. The chicken is cooked when a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 185 F.

Take the bird out of the oven. Place a cutting board inside a rimmed baking sheet (this works really well to catch juices)  and transfer the bird to the cutting board to rest.  Let it rest for a good 20 minutes while you finish up making the rest of the dinner, before you carve it.  This will help keep the juices in.

Meanwhile, make gravy!
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