Golden brown. Fragrant and juicy. Some foods just enthrall the senses and draw you in with their enticing aroma making you think of home and family, warmth, comfort and security. Roast Chicken with a rich and flavorful gravy evokes wonderful memories for me and I make it all the time. It’s so easy to master and a joy to serve and once you learn how, you’ll make it all the time too!
One roast chicken can make lots of different meals.
- After the chicken has cooled, pull off the skin, remove the meat from the bones and make Chicken Salad. Save all the bones and skin in a freezer bag and save for chicken stock or soup.
- Remove the meat and make Easy Chicken Sliders. These are so good!
- Cut your cooled roast chicken into breasts, thighs, legs and wings and use in garlicky, amazing Chicken Vesuvio. Skip the first three steps and go right to step four! This is the perfect recipe to double or triple for a big crowd.
- Make White Chicken Chili. Super quick for last minute meals.
- Make a quicker Chicken Cacciatore by skipping the browning steps. This is Italian comfort food at it’s best!
Veggies ready to go in the chicken along with salt, pepper and a few dried herbs. Super easy.
- 1 roasting chicken or fryer about 4 - 5 pounds. I use organic, pastured chicken (when they go on sale, I buy several whole chickens and freeze them)
- 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped into 3 or 4 big pieces
- 1 stalk celery with the leaves, chopped into about 3 or 4 pieces
- 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and cut in half
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 handful fresh parsley
- 1 tsp each dried thyme and sage
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- 4 cups organic chicken broth
- ¼ cup flour - gluten free works fine
- Take your chicken out of the fridge about 30 minutes to an hour before roasting to bring to room temperature. This will insure even cooking. Discard the pop-up thermometer if there is one.
- Preheat the oven to 350. Wash and dry the chicken, inside and out. Use lots of paper towels to dry the chicken and remember to thoroughly wash all surfaces that come into contact with raw chicken. Remove the bag of giblets from inside the bird and refrigerate or freeze for soup.
- Place chicken, breast side up, on a rack in a greased roasting pan. Sprinkle inside and out with salt and pepper. Put the onion and other vegetables inside the chicken along with the bay leaves, herbs and garlic. Tuck the wing tips under the body. If you have kitchen twine, you can tie the legs together but it's not necessary. For a crispier skin, rub softened butter or olive oil all over the chicken. Pour a cup or two of chicken broth into the roasting pan.
- Place chicken in the oven and let it roast for about 20-30 minutes.
- Now it's time to baste. You don't have to baste but I think it makes for a juicier chicken. Open the oven door and baste the chicken all around. If the pan is looking dry, add a little more broth.
- Continue roasting and basting every 15 minutes or so until the chicken is done. The chicken is done when a thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 190 and in the breast registers 180. You can also tell if it's done if you stick a sharp knife into the thigh and the juices run clear with no touch of pink. Total cooking time should be anywhere from an hour to 2 hours. By now your house will smell heavenly and your chicken should be brown and crispy.
- Remove chicken from the oven, take it out of the roasting pan, place on a platter and tent with foil to let the juices settle.
- You can use different herbs if you like. Tarragon or Rosemary would both be amazing. Fresh herbs are wonderful too if you have them.
- Save all the ends of the celery, carrots, onions or garlic in a big freezer bag. Keep the bag in the freezer and add to it whenever you chop veggies. When it’s time to make soup or stock, you’ll have a stash of carrots, celery, onions, parsley, cabbage, etc. to add to your broth. It saves money and prevents a lot of waste. I do this all the time.
- This is the chicken broth I use if I don’t have any homemade on hand: Organic chicken Broth
- I always take out the pop-up timer if there is one. They don’t usually work and when they pop, your chicken will either be overcooked and dry or undercooked and pink.
- Feel free to put a cut lemon inside the chicken instead of vegetables. You can also scatter sliced onions, carrots and potatoes around the chicken while it cooks.
You might have a preferred method for making gravy and if so, go ahead and do that but I’ve found both these methods to be easy and foolproof. If you’ve never made gravy before give it a try. It’s so easy and tastes way better than canned! Feel free to use gluten free all purpose flour if you like.
- Method 1: Put the roasting pan on the stove. If there is a lot of fat in the pan, you’ll want to take a spoon and skim some of that off. You want some fat but not more than a couple of tablespoons. Remove any black burned bits from the pan. Add the second can of broth, put the heat on medium and stir up all the brown bits.
- Mix about ¼ cup of the flour with ¼ cup of water and mix together to make a slurry.
- Whisk it into the broth and keep whisking till smooth. As you continue cooking the gravy, it will thicken but if it’s not thick enough feel free to add a bit more flour and water. If it gets lumpy, put it through a sieve and it will be fine. If there is any juice that has collected under the chicken on the platter, add that in to the gravy.
- Method 2: heat the fat in the bottom of the pan. Add the flour (at a ratio of 1 tablespoon flour to 1 tablespoon fat) and stir and cook for a couple of minutes till golden. Then add the remaining chicken broth whisking as you go. It will thicken as it cooks. Feel free to add herbs or salt and pepper to taste.