Favorite Big Bites: Herb Roasted Whole Chicken, My MVP

Doesn’t everyone have a few go-to meals that are sure to please and are relatively easy to put together? For me, that meal is herb roasted whole chicken. I love so many things about this recipe. I don’t need exotic ingredients to make it taste awesome. It’s also a great starting point for a variety of other meals that I can make easily with everyday ingredients. I’ve gotten into the habit of roasting a chicken on Mondays so I can use leftovers throughout the week in alternate recipes (or to quickly feed my daughter without enduring a total hanger meltdown).

The first time I roasted a whole chicken, I was super nervous. Handling an entire carcass was intimidating. However, I’m here to tell you that it’s way easier than it seems and the finished product is beautiful, so it’s a nice go-to to impress dinner guests. You can so do this.

If you don’t have easy access to fresh herbs, simply substitute 2 teaspoons of the dried variety per sprig of fresh. If you don’t like those herbs, this recipe works fine without them. Remember, you’re the one eating this, not me!

In the coming weeks, I’ll share a few of our favorite (and simple!) recipes that use this yummy roast chicken.

My husband loves eating the onions from the bottom of the pan.

My husband loves eating the onions from the bottom of the pan.

Active Time: 20 minutes | Cooking Time: 60-75 minutes
Difficulty: Intermediate

Ingredients

  • 4.5 lb whole chicken
  • 1 tbsp plus 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut in half at its equator
  • 2 fresh sprigs rosemary*
  • 2 fresh sprigs sage*
  • 2 fresh sprigs thyme*
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 medium lemon, rinsed well and pierced with a fork
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare your roasting pan or 13×9-inch casserole by greasing it with 1 tbsp olive oil. Next, slice the shoots side of the onion (the side without the root) into half-inch discs, keeping the rings together. Lay the onion slices in the baking dish to make a little bed for your chicken.

Next, prepare your herb olive oil by chopping up one of each sprig of rosemary, sage and thyme, discarding the stems. In a small bowl or ramekin, combine the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil with the chopped herbs and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper (you can use a fork to whisk everything together).

Remove the giblets from the chicken’s chest cavity and rinse the bird well with cold water, both inside and out. Dry the bird well with a paper towel. Season the chest cavity with salt and pepper to taste (I usually give 2-3 turns in my salt and pepper shakers and call it good). Turn the tips of the chicken wings under the back of the bird and lay the chicken on top of the onions, breast side up. Now, loosen the skin on the breast and the legs by running your finger between the meat and the skin.

You’re now ready to put the finishing touches on your chicken and pop it in the oven. Lifting the skin away from the meat, pour half of your olive oil herb mixture onto the breast of the chicken and using your fingers, spread it evenly over the breast and legs. Slice the remaining half of your onion into quarters and stuff it into the cavity of the chicken along with the pierced lemon, smashed garlic and remaining herbs. Cross the legs of the chicken and tie them together with your cooking twine. Finally, pour the remaining herb olive oil over the outside of the bird, once again using your fingers to spread it out evenly.

Roast the chicken until the skin is golden and crispy and a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (between the breast and the leg) reads 165, about an hour. Allow your chicken to rest for about 10 minutes after roasting and you’re ready to go.

*Many grocery stores sell a “poultry blend” of fresh herbs, which contains a smaller portion of rosemary, sage and thyme so you don’t need to buy a whole pack of each.

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