The holiday season brings a certain magical feeling to the air. It is felt by all who embrace the excitement and joy brought about by this special time. Especially this year with all the Snow we’ve had (and are still getting), the magic is dusted on each pine tree and creates a seamless blanket of beauty across the town. Thanksgiving to New Years is filled with family, friends, giving, and of course, my favorite, Food! In the midst of all the business I must advocate for good-quality meals. At this point you may be scrambling to throw together anything you can for dinner in the midst of rushing around to parties, wrapping presents, and frolicking in the snow (I know, this takes up a lot of my time too).
If you’ve exhausted your go-to meals, or can’t eat another turkey or holiday ham, here is a fabulous recipe that is so easy to make for any dinner or use for a family holiday get-together as a gourmet main-course.
Since I never really cared for the traditional ham at Christmas time, my mother was gracious enough to start a new tradition of roasting chickens (or she just got sick of me using an entire bottle of mustard to try to mask the ham flavor)…but whatever the reason, I was introduced to the wonderful world of roasted chicken, and now I make them throughout the year. Roast multiple chickens to feed an army or to make great leftovers. This time of year, it’s nice to have some meals already prepared when you’re pressed for time!
A Word about Roasting Whole Chickens
Roasting chickens is an entirely different ball-game compared to turkey. Turkey’s are big and intimidating and for that reason, roasting chickens are often forgotten other than for the occasional holiday. I never buy individual cuts of chicken anymore, I just roast whole birds for four reasons:
1) I get all the cuts and everyone can have what piece they like
2) I can use the carcasses, leftover skin and bones to make Homemade Chicken Broth.
Click here for my bone broth recipe!
3) Beyond delicious and so Easy!
4) Leftovers. (but not in excess as with turkey. No chicken-tetrazzini here)
Literally, you throw the seasoning on and toss it in the oven. For a really complete meal you can also put chopped vegetables in the bottom of the pan to cook with the chicken. I utilize a lower cooking temperature to ensure a nice tender chicken. Most traditional recipes will tell you 350-375 degrees. I do mine at 300 degrees (sometimes even 250 if I have time to let it bake for several hours!) and I find my bird and my stomach are much happier for it.
So, if you want to get a little crazy this holiday and change up the menu, I highly recommend roasted chicken. Be brave and you will be pleasantly surprised 🙂
Garlic and Herb Roasted Chicken
- 1 4-5 pound whole chicken skin on
For the Rub
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary chopped, or 1/2 tsp. dry
- 1 tsp fresh thyme chopped, or 1/2 tsp. dry
- 1 tbsp fresh basil chopped, or 1/2 tsp. dry
- 3 cloves fresh garlic minced
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp Himalayan or sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
Cavity Stuffing (optional)
- 1 lemon cut into wedges
- 1/2 onion cut into wedges
- sprigs of rosemary and thyme
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Lightly coat the bottom of a small roasting pan or 9 x 13 glass baking dish with olive oil.
- Place all rub ingredients into a small bowl and stir together. You can use more or less herbs if desired.
- Place chicken breast side down and spread 1/3 of the rub evenly along the bottom and onto the thighs. Flip the bird over and spread remaining rub on the top portion (breasts, legs). Gently lift the skin at the cavity opening and spread some of the rub under the skin on the breasts. Use more olive oil to coat if necessary.
- Stuff the cavity with the aromatics if using.
- Place chicken in bottom 3rd of the oven and tent with foil. Allow to roast for 2.5-3 hours until the legs and wings are loose and juices run clear (internal temp 165 degrees). Allow bird to rest for 10 minutes before carving.