Roasting a chicken used to be an intimidating concept to me. The bird seemed big, it couldn’t be cooked on the stovetop, and in my mind only a mom, grandma, or some other official adult had the necessary expertise. Then I was commissioned to test a group of recipes, and roasted chicken was on the list. It turns out it isn’t difficult at all. Now I think everyone should know how to roast a chicken, if only to enjoy the head start it gives you on nearly a week’s worth of meals: tacos on Tuesday, chicken salad on Wednesday, and a sandwich on Thursday.
What makes this recipe special is the combination of sage, rosemary, lemon, and tarragon stuffed into the bird’s cavity. It smells divine while roasting, and the meat acquires a lush citrus-herb flavor. Roasted Vegetables with Tahini Vinaigrette would be great on the side. You will need a meat thermometer to make sure the chicken is properly cooked. If yours is instant-read rather than traditional, pull the bird out of the oven after 45 minutes and check the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh, avoiding the bone.
Excerpted from COOKING SOLO, © 2016 by Klancy Miller. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
- 1 2 1⁄2- to 3-pound) whole chicken (preferably organic and free-range)
- 2 lemons, halved
- Salt, to taste
- 6 sprigs fresh tarragon, coarsely torn
- 4 fresh sage leaves, coarsely torn
- 2 or 3 fresh rosemary sprigs
- 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Rinse the chicken inside and out under cold running water. Pat it dry with paper towels.
Set the chicken in a roasting pan and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over it, inside and out. Generously season the chicken with salt, inside and out. Push half the remaining lemon all the way into the cavity, stuff in the tarragon, sage, and rosemary, and add the remaining lemon half, like a cap for the cavity. Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken, rubbing to coat the bird well, and grind pepper all over it.
Position a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh, avoiding the bone. Place the roasting pan in the oven and roast the chicken for 45 to 50 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and the temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Let it rest for about 10 minutes before carving and serving.