In our house roasted chicken is a favorite Sunday night dinner. The aroma of the cooking bird fills the house all afternoon, promising of the dinner that is to come. There are numerous methods and schools of thought for producing the perfect roasted chicken. Some cooks swear by brining their bird first while others baste throughout the roasting process. Personally I’m all about putting it in the oven and forgetting about it but I also love juicy and tender meat. My answer is to stuff the cavity with citrus and herbs and then letting the bird cook itself. Cooking times will definitely vary based on your oven, the size of your bird and even your cooking pan so be sure to use a thermometer to ensure that your chicken is cooked through.
I’m a huge fan of the combination of lemon, garlic and fresh herbs that I use here. It is really so simple but the results are fool proof. Depending upon the size of your bird and the size of your lemons, you may use less or need more lemons. You can add more garlic, thyme or even other herbs depending upon your preferences. Sometimes I’ll even roast two birds then use the leftover meat for sandwiches throughout the week. For convenience sake I use pre-peeled baby potatoes from the grocery store but you can also use baby red potatoes or even cut down larger potatoes into smaller pieces.
LEMON GARLIC ROASTED CHICKEN & POTATOES
1 3 1/2- 4 pound whole roasting chicken
2 lemons, scrubbed and cut into wedges
8 whole garlic cloves
6 thyme sprigs
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 pound baby potatoes
- Move the oven rack to the lowest level and pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Rinse the cavity of the chicken with cool water then place the whole bird, breast side up, in a large cast iron skillet or shallow roasting pan. You want to choose a pan that will be large enough to hold both the bird and your potatoes.
- Fill the cavity of the chicken with the lemon wedges, garlic cloves and thyme sprigs taking care to distribute the garlic and thyme evenly throughout the bird.
- Sprinkle the exterior of the bird with 1 teaspoon of the salt, 1 teaspoon of the pepper and the paprika.
- Place the chicken in the oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
- Roast the bird for 45 minutes then nestle the potatoes around the base of the bird. Sprinkle the potatoes with remaining salt and pepper.
- Return the chicken to the oven and continue to cook until the juices run clear and the internal temperature of the breast is 165 degrees when tested with an instant read thermometer. This can take anywhere from an additional 45 minutes to an hour.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.
Serves 4-6 people