This dish is a one-pan wonder that my husband and I make at least once a month because it is so darn easy and there are ample left overs for us to eat for a day or two after. If cooking a whole chicken is intimidating to you, don’t worry, I used to be scared to do it too but my husband Shane taught me the basic principles a few years ago and I’ve been going strong ever since.
Learning how to cook a whole chicken is important because it is a much more affordable way to eat chicken compared to buying the boneless/skinless pieces, plus you can save the bones and make stock with it. We save all the bones that come from our cooking and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, stick them in the freezer, and when I gather enough bones, I make a big batch of stock.
I’ll be sharing my recipe for Roasted Chicken Stock soon!
1 4-5lb chicken, preferably organic/pastured
1.5 lbs small red skinned or Yukon Gold potatoes quartered
1.5 lbs medium whole carrots (about 11) peeled and halved lengthwise, if the carrots are large quarter them
3 small sweet onions, 2 quartered, 1 halved
1 large head of garlic broken into individual cloves, skin left on
¼ cup fresh parsley chopped
4 sprigs fresh thyme
¼ cup melted ghee, butter, or olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Remove chicken from refrigerator, rinse with water, and remove neck and gizzards if inside chicken. Dry the chicken inside and out with paper towels thoroughly and leave at room temperature for about 2 hours so it can temper. Preheat oven to 475.
Season the inside of the chicken generously with salt and pepper and stuff with the 2 halves of onion, 4 cloves of garlic, and 2 sprigs of fresh thyme. Truss the chicken- here is a step by step on trussing a chicken, this is an important step so don’t skip it! Rub the outside of the chicken with 2 tablespoons of melted butter or oil and season with salt and pepper.
Add the chopped potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic cloves, 2 sprigs of thyme to a large bowel, drizzle with the left over 3-4 tablespoons of oil or butter, and season with salt and pepper. Mix well using hands to make sure all of the vegetables are evenly coated with oil and seasoning, add more oil or butter if necessary.
Pour the vegetables into a cast iron skillet or roasting pan just large enough to hold the vegetables snuggly. Make a nest in the middle of the vegetables and set the trussed chicken into it.
Roast chicken at 475 for 25 minutes to get the skin golden and crispy, turn down the heat to 400 and roast for an additional 45 minutes until the meatiest portion of the bird (the spot where the breast and the thigh meet and the thigh itself) reaches 160 degrees. Use a digital thermometer to do this, we like this one. Remove from oven, tent with foil, and let rest for 20-30 minutes so the juices in the bird can redistribute (the bird will be SUPER juicy if you make sure to do this).
If the vegetables need more time to cook and get golden brown, remove chicken and set on a platter and rest separately and put the pan with the vegetables back in the oven until tender and crispy.
Cut the chicken into 8-10 pieces, here is how to do an 8 piece cut. If you want 10 pieces follow the instructions for 8 and then cut the breasts in half widthwise. Lay the pieces back onto pan with vegetables, sprinkle with parsley, taste for seasoning, and serve. Be sure to put a couple roasted garlic cloves on your plate and pop them out of their crispy skins and onto the chicken, potatoes, and veggies! Yum!
Cooking tip: always rest meat when it is done cooking, smaller pieces can be 15 minutes but bigger pieces like roasts and even your Thanksgiving turkey should rest for at least an hour.