Alicia Froio’s post on cooking a Turkey reveals a similar strategy that can be applied to roasting a whole chicken.
Roasting a whole chicken is a great cooking skill to learn because it is an elegant and easy meal from which you will (probably) have delicious leftovers. I have learned that trussing the chicken and adding herbs and lemon are key to roasting a perfect chicken.
Trussing seems to be daunting and excessive at first, but after you have experimented with cooking chickens with and without trussing, you will realize trussing is worth doing. Trussing the chicken ensures a moist and flavorful chicken.
I have included a helpful infographic on trussing from Everyday Good Thinking.
- 2 lemons
- 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
- 3.5-4.0 pound whole chicken (organic, unfrozen, and free-range is best)
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- bunches of thyme and rosemary
- cooking twine to truss the chicken
Step 1: Choose the chicken
- The first step in cooking a turkey is choosing the right bird. I recommend getting a fresh (unfrozen -so you do not have to defrost the bird), free-range, organic chicken from your local grocery store.
Step 2: Wash the bird and prepare for roast
- Rinse the chicken and remove the neck and giblet from the inside. This is not glamorous. Cooking is not for the faint of heart. Dispose or use to make a stock.
Step 3: Prepare the chicken
- Place the chicken breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan or cast iron skillet. Tuck the wings under the chicken. Sprinkle salt and a moderate amount of pepper inside the cavity of the chicken and all over the bird. Truss the chicken– i.e. tie the legs together (this is to further assure moistness). Fill the cavity with 2 lemon halves and bunches of thyme and rosemary (and feel free to add other herbs). Rub softened olive oil (or butter) all over chicken and add more salt and pepper as needed.
Step 4: Place in oven and cook
- Place the chicken in the roasting pan on the lowest rack in your oven and cook at 325 degrees F for about 20 minutes per pound of chicken.
Step 5: Take out of oven and test temperature:
- Take the chicken out of the oven and place on stovetop. Place thermometer into the thigh of the chicken until it reads at least 165 degrees F. If it less than 165 F, place back into oven for about 10 minutes on same temperature until it reaches 165 F.
Step 6: Let the chicken cool
- Let the chicken cool for at least 30 minutes before carving.
Step 7: Carve and enjoy
How To Truss A Chicken: