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  • Writer's pictureEllen

The Perfect Roast Chicken



A whole roast chicken may look impressive, but it is actually a fairly simple recipe to master. There is only one basic rule you need to remember: 20 minutes per pound! Anything else (stuffing, marinades, rubs, etc.) is just extra.


Our pasture-raised chicken is one of our favorite things we produce on the farm. Our chicken is totally unlike the bland, dry chicken you get a at the store - it's juicy, flavorful, AND you know it was raised humanely in the fresh air and sunshine. Our chickens eat a mix of locally milled grains plus all the bugs, clover, grass, and flowers they can eat. This varied diet not only makes them taste better, but pasture-raised chicken is higher in healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and Vitamin A and lower in saturated fats and sodium than conventionally raised chicken (https://apppa.org/page-18106).



Want to try some of our pasture-raised chicken? We carry whole roaster chickens, boneless skinless breasts, and leg quarters (thigh + drumstick.) For more information and to order online for local pickup visit our Pasture Raised Chicken Order Form page.


And now, on to roasting chicken!


First, if you purchased your whole chicken from us, it will arrive frozen. They usually take about 2-3 days to thaw in the refrigerator, so make sure you plan ahead! (Harder than it sounds, I know.)


The following recipe describes the way I typically prepare a roast chicken. However, remember the basic rule: 20 minutes per pound, and anything else is extra! If you'd like to make it less "fancy" than I do, that's fine. Leave out the herbed butter rub and stuffing if you're low on time or just don't feel like doing that much work today. But if you have the energy, I encourage you to try it - it's delicious!


Whole Roasted Chicken


1 whole roasting chicken, thawed

1 onion, quartered

1 lemon, quartered

A few sprigs of rosemary, oregano, and/or thyme (or whatever fresh herbs you have available)

1/2 stick (4 Tbl) of butter, softened

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried thyme

Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 375 F. Prepare the chicken: remove the giblets (if included - ours will not have giblets), rinse the body cavity, and pat dry. Place breast side up in a 9x13 baking dish or cast iron pan. Stuff the body cavity with the onion quarters, lemon quarters, and sprigs of fresh herbs.


Make the herb butter: mash the softened butter, dried herbs, garlic, salt and pepper until thoroughly mixed. Loosen the skin covering the chicken's breasts by pushing your fingers between the skin and the meat - be gentle! Next, take some of the butter and spread it between the loosened skin and breast meat. Try to get the butter to cover as much as the breast as possible. Rub the remaining herb butter all over the outside of the chicken - breasts, thighs, legs, the whole works.


Cover the chicken and pan with aluminum foil. Roast for 20 minutes per pound, removing the foil in the last 30 minutes to crisp up the skin. The chicken is done when the thigh meat registers 165 F on a meat thermometer. Remove the chicken from the oven, cover with the foil again, and let sit for 10 minutes before carving.


Remember, the only part that really matters in this recipe is the roasting time! You can switch up the stuffing, herb butter, etc. to make this recipe your own. Or simply sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast. For reference, here are some ballpark roasting times:

4 lb chicken: 1 hour 20 minutes

5 lb chicken: 1 hour 40 minutes

6 lb chicken: 2 hours


Enjoy!


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