Since our inauguration into the world of cooking whole chickens, we've run into some great whole chicken recipes; but recently we feel like we've hit on one of the best (and easiest) to date!
Initially the prospect of having to cook a whole chicken was extremely intimidating to me and I made some mistakes along the way. My sister graduated from culinary school, so thankfully I always had someone to run to with my questions--she's the one who told me you have to roast a chicken breast side up...seems like I would've figured that one out on my own, but can't say that I did. Though for the practical side of cooking I have to ask a lot of questions, I am more gifted in the area of creating something tasty out of seemingly nothing in the kitchen. Below includes the recipes for our family's current favorite meal. The chicken recipe is the EASIEST way I have ever prepared and roasted a whole chicken. It takes five minutes at most before cooking time and it is DELICIOUS! My palate prefers lots of flavor in any food I eat--but especially meat. I've never tasted roasted chicken meat that is seasoned all the way through like the meat this recipe produces. My sister-in-law discovered the recipe and shared it with us--I think it's the main way both our families now cook our whole chickens every single time. I have been so thankful for the simplicity and tastiness for the main dish piece of this meal!
The side recipe I'll include is one of our favorite fall-inspired roasted veggie dishes (I call it a veggie dish but it includes some fall fruits as well). This is a "side" that I will often convert into a meal in itself (it's especially good if you add some of our sausage or bacon to it). I like this hearty side because it feels like I'm pumping vitamins and nutrients into my body as I eat it, particularly if I'm using fresh, local vegetables.
So here they are. We hope you will enjoy them as much as we do!
EdenThistle's Favorite Roasted Chicken Recipe:
1 whole chicken (approx. 4 lbs.)
Salt (approx. 1/4 cup)
Directions: (Preheat oven to 500 degrees)
1. Remove thawed chicken from packaging. Place in bowl and cover entire chicken with salt. (I go pretty heavy on the salt and try to get it everywhere--this is what creates the amazing flavor and a crispy skin once cooked).
2. Place salted chicken, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 1 hour and up to 24 hours in advance of roasting. Note: It is supposed to lend the best results the longer the chicken rests in the fridge, but I am often not that prepared time-wise and have even added the salt and put it right in the oven before. It still turned out really well, so don't let the "pre-step" deter you from trying it.
3. Transfer chicken to a roasting dish (can do so up to 30 minutes before cooking to bring to room temperature).
4. Roast chicken, breast side up in oven set at 500 degrees for 45 min. - 1.5 hours (based on size of chicken). I begin checking the temperature of the chicken with a meat thermometer (in the thigh and breast areas) after 45 minutes of roasting time. I pull the chicken out of the oven when it reaches somewhere around 160-165 degrees.
5. Allow to rest just a bit and then cut chicken and serve--be sure to include some skin--it is tasty!
Fall-Inspired Roasted Vegetables (and fruit):
Ingredients to serve 4:
4-5 red potatoes
3-4 small sweet potatoes
2 medium apples (I prefer granny smith but any will work!)
1-2 heads of broccoli
1/3 cup of cranberries (or just a handful or two depending on preference)
Parmesan cheese (grated)
Directions: (Preheat oven to 400 degrees)
1. Chop the following vegetables/fruit into bite-size pieces: red potato, sweet potato, apple, and broccoli. (I adjust the amount of each I use for how many people I'm feeding--Brussels sprouts and chopped nuts are also a great addition).
2. Drizzle olive oil on roasting pan and place chopped veggies on pan. Add a handful of whole cranberries on top and drizzle olive oil over everything.
4. Roast at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Add garlic salt and grated parmesan cheese to taste right when dish comes out of oven. Serve warm.
Note: To turn this into a main dish, follow the directions above, then add either cooked sausage or bacon crumbles on top once dish comes out of the oven. Garnish with sour cream, cilantro and parmesan cheese.
Thanks to Zach Robbins Photography for the shot above