There were so many years when I first started cooking (like, over 10 years ago) when I would refuse to cook chicken. Or if by some chance I did, I would over-cook the HECK out of it. I was so scared of getting sick or of getting someone else sick. I was such a newbie to the world of cooking that I did not have much confidence. Thankfully, the confidence did come later. Now, I love cooking chicken…and pork and fish…and all of the items that I shied away from years ago.
I know there are more people out there who might feel the same, so I have streamlined my roasted chicken recipe to be the easiest and most user-friendly one I have. Here are some tried and true tips: Cooking your chicken on a cookie sheet instead of in a roasting pan, yields faster cooking and even browning; using bacon fat gives it really nice color and amazing flavor; cooking at such a high temperature means you don’t have to wait forever for dinner, and it also means you will have crispy skin and a moist bird; the extra 10 minutes is just for good luck, and adding it in always makes me feel good about the final product!
So give it a try and tell your friends that you are no longer a chicken when it comes to cooking chicken. You’ll love how free you feel, and let’s face it, placing a beautifully roasted chicken on the table for whomever you’ve decided to share it with will earn you major chef’s points. Can you say, “Bon Appétit”?
No-Fail Roasted Chicken
1 organic roasting chicken (size varies–I get mine at Trader Joe’s!)
Choice of fat to cover (I used leftover bacon fat that I keep in my fridge…yum!)
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 lemon, cut in half
1 bunch fresh thyme or rosemary
**1 head garlic, sliced in half
**If you have IBS, a very sensitive stomach, or are in the elimination perio
d of the low FODMAPs diet, perhaps leave out the garlic. Otherwise, it is mostly used to keep the bird moist, and if you are not using the juices at all, it should be fine for you to eat the meat.
Preheat your oven to 500F. Rinse your chicken and pat it dry with paper towels. Place it straight on a cookie sheet. Pour a good amount of salt inside the cavity, along with the juice of one half of your lemon. Then gently shove the other lemon half, garlic halves (if using), and thyme in the cavity. Make sure the thyme isn’t sticking out or it will burn. By doing this, you are attempting to keep the bird as moist as you can!
Take your olive oil, butter, or bacon fat, and smear a generous portion over the top of the bird. Use your hands and massage the fat all over. Make sure to get every crevice! After you’ve washed your hands, add your salt and pepper to taste all over the bird. I use quite a bit—it helps lock in the flavor and juices.
Roast your bird in your preheated 500F oven for 10 minutes per pound. Then, increase th
e temperature up to 520 for 10 additional minutes (for good luck) at the end. Be careful when you take it out of the oven! Check for doneness by piercing the skin where the leg meets the body to see if the juice that runs out is clear. If it is, you should be good to go! You can also use an instant-read thermometer. J
Let the bird sit for 10-15 minutes to rest. This insures it will stay moist. If you cut into it right away, all of the hot juices will rush out, leaving you with dry meat. Always let your meat rest.
Serve with a side of mashed potatoes, veggies, pasta, or with soup and rustic bread. I made vegan creamed spinach (recipe coming soon!) to go along with mine and it was Paleo and delicious! Paleo-icous!
1 tablespoon gluten free flour
1 tablespoon softened vegan butter
Pan drippings from the cooked chicken
1 cup gluten free chicken or vegetable stock
You could certainly make a simple and scrumptious gravy with the pan drippings. Pour them into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add your stock and return to a boil. Make a paste out of your butter and flour. Add to the pan whisking to combine until smooth. Simmer for a few minutes. Taste to see if you need to add any more seasoning. Enjoy!