Yesterday was Mother’s Day so I certainly hope there was no mother working hard in the kitchen preparing a big meal for her family, unless she truly wanted to. I love to cook, you know that – but this momma does NOT cook on Mother’s Day! I think it’s written somewhere on my babies’ birth certificates. Right there under Mother’s Full Name and above County of birth, I swear it says “Hereby from this day forward, the above named mother shall not cook on Mother’s Day. Take her out to her favorite restaurant, grill out or cook for her, because she will not be in the kitchen on Mother’s Day!” You all better check your children’s birth certificates and make any necessary amendments. I did not make this meal on Mother’s Day, I made it last Sunday.
This recipe is one that I would fix if I had unexpected guests coming to dinner with a couple of hours notice. Am I the only one who thinks about these things? I pick up two or three of these chickens when they are on sale and roast one and toss the other one or two in the freezer to use for another meal sometime. Whole chickens are usually very inexpensive and you can make so many different meals with them. Back to my mind playing out this imaginary surprise dinner . . . While my chicken roasted away in the oven, I would probably clean my house like a madwoman on a mission and holler out cleaning orders like a drill sergeant to my little recruits. Tell me I’m not the only one who pictures these scenes happening so vividly in their head.
This oven roasted chicken is simple to prepare, looks pretty, and tastes wonderful. You can change up the flavors to your liking, but I’m a fan of the lemon and rosemary together, plus this girl puts garlic in anything! This recipe is based off of Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken recipe and one that I’ve made many times over the years. I’ve added different herbs and ingredients to flavor the chicken. What’s also great about oven roasted chicken is after the meal is over and leftovers (if there are any) are put away, you can scavenge the remaining chicken off the carcass and save it for soup, whip up chicken salad, or just leave it shredded for a salad topping, or “gold” dog training treats like I sometimes do. This time, I saved the remaining chicken for Thai Fusion Chicken Noodle Soup and our doggies had some special treats for when they need a little extra encouragement to come inside when called. Sometimes it’s so hard to leave squirrel patrol and come in the house. 🙂
I made mashed potatoes and gravy to go along with our Oven Roasted Chicken and vegetables. Yes, that’s right, the roasted potatoes were not enough carbs for us! This was a planned carb splurge meal so no judgement please! 🙂 I did this because the roasted carrots and potatoes cook down so much and we were really hungry from working in the yard. I wanted a hearty fill your belly up Sunday dinner so mashed potatoes and gravy were a necessity, but I know a green veggie would have been a healthier choice. If I had some fresh green beans on hand, that would have been a great side addition instead of those mashed potatoes that called my name. You could increase the amounts of roasted carrots and potatoes or add in additional veggies like zucchini or whatever you like if you want more veggies. The quantities below feed my family of five, pus there’s one to two leftover meals for my husband to take to work and some leftover chicken that I pull from the carcass to use for soup or chicken salad. It’s just enough for us, but note our girls do not eat a lot. If we were having guests for dinner or if I had hungry teenagers to feed, I would add in another chicken and double the veggies. My roasting pan is large enough to hold two chickens but you may need to use two pans if yours is not large enough and you want to roast two birds.
Oven Roasted Chicken
One whole chicken – around 5-7 lbs is good.
3-4 garlic cloves
2-3 Bay leaves
2-3 fresh Rosemary sprigs
1-2 fresh Thyme sprigs, or 1/2 teas dried thyme leaves. I only had ground so I didn’t use any.
3-4 TBS melted butter
2-3 TBS Olive Oil
Fresh Ground Pepper
2-2 1/2 lbs small red potatoes
2 carrots peeled and cut into chunks (I only had baby carrots on hand so I used about 1 C baby carrots)
Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Wash and cut potatoes in half if small potatoes or quarter if medium-sized potatoes. Leave the peels on.
Wash, peel, and cut carrots into large chunks. The baby carrots work fine in a pinch, but they tend to cook quicker and caramelize more compared to the regular carrots cut into chunks. I’m not a huge fan of cooked carrots, but I love how sweet they get when roasted and we clean our plates, carrots and all with this recipe.
In a roasting pan, add in carrots, potatoes, 1/2 of the onion, quartered and separated into pieces, thyme sprigs if using, a few rosemary leaves torn off of the sprigs, 2-3 TBS olive oil and salt and pepper. Toss gently to coat.
Prepare ingredients below that will go inside the chicken. I like to have this all ready to go before I touch the chicken so I’m not contaminating anything with gross raw chicken juice or having to rewash my hands again and again. Always be careful with handling raw chicken and wash hands well after handling, clean off anything that you may have touched with the raw chicken or chicken juice.
1 lemon, cut into quarters, 3-4 garlic cloves smashed with peel removed, the second half of the onion peeled and quartered, 2-3 rosemary sprigs, 2-3 Bay Leaves, and salt and pepper. I put the salt and pepper in a little dish all ready to go so I don’t have to touch my pepper grinder or salt dish while handling the chicken.
Melt the 3-4 TBS of butter and have it ready to be brushed on the chicken.
Prepare the bird:
Most whole roasting chickens come with a pouch of gizzards and sometimes the chicken neck inside the carcass. Remove this, rinse the chicken inside and out and gently pat dry with paper towel.
Place chicken breast side up on top of the veggies in the roasting pan.
Season inside with a little salt and pepper. Fill up cavity with lemon, onion, bay leaves, rosemary, and garlic cloves.
Brush the entire outside of the bird with the melted butter and then season with salt and pepper. Give the chicken a little rub to make sure the butter and seasoning is in all the armpits and nooks of the bird.
(You could stop here, stick the prepared roasting pan with the prepped bird and veggies into the fridge in the morning and when you get home from work, the meal is that much faster to make!)
Roast the chicken, uncovered in the center of the oven at 425 degrees for around 90 minutes, or until internal temp is 165 Degrees F and the juices run clear when you cut into it.
Remove from oven and let it rest for around 5 minutes before cutting.
You can place the roasted chicken surrounded by the roasted veggies on a platter. Garnish with slices of lemon if you like.
I served our Oven Roasted Chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy. I just sautéed diced onion in olive oil, made a roux with 2 TBS Butter and 2 TBS flour and then added in some of the drippings from the roasted chicken, 2 C chicken broth, salt and pepper and stirred the gravy until it was thickened and ready. I finished it with a little fresh lemon juice.