Whole Roasted Chicken

Whole chickens are funny. It’s sounds so simple to cook, but they’re also kind of intimidating! At least they were for me. It took me a while before I felt like I was able to do this.

I do this old school, in a Dutch oven. I’m sure an instant pot or a crock pot would do just fine, but I like my Dutch Oven.

I love roasting whole chickens too, because it’s a really economical way for a whole family to eat organic meat. A whole organic chicken is like $13-$20- and it’ll feed us for at least two meals, plus bone broth which I use in everything and drink all the time.

And don’t you think this chicken would go oh-do-nicely with a sheet pan of veggies to roast along with it like this:

I make the bone broth immediately after my family is done with dinner. You can find my recipe here. I typically drink this plain or make soup with it.

There are a also a variety of things I use the leftover chicken and/or veggies for. Depending on how much is left, I’ll usually make chicken enchiladas, a chicken pasta, chicken soup or chicken salad out of the leftovers.

You could even make a delicious salad or lunch bowl like these the next day!

But I digress. For the whole roasted chicken, I start with the most important step: remove the gizzards from the cavity under the legs! It’s a little gross at first, but you can do it! I believe in you! Now you can rinse the whole thing off. I usually just use a big bowl or I clean the sink and just do it in there.

After that, I usually pat the chicken dry with a few paper towels and trim some of the excess skin/fat- you’ll see it. It’s not the skin on the back/breast that absorbs lots of spice and gets crispy and delicious as it cooks- it’s the stuff around the neck bone and bottom that’s just kind of chunky and flappy and doesn’t do nobody no good no how. Just cut it off. Get rid of it.

Next, separate some of the skin from the breast and back. It’s real easy and you should be able to slide your hand down in there to separate it a bit.

Now is the fun part. Rub the bird down generously with your spices of choice. Sometimes I just keep it real simple with generous rubs of kosher salt and pepper, but sometimes I get fancy with tandoori spices, paprika or turmeric depending on my mood. Don’t be shy here- really rub that sucker down- meat and skin. You’ll be glad you did.

Now, place the chicken <breast side up> on top. I usually toss a half of a lemon inside the cavity there for aromatics and depth of flavor. A little rosemary sprig never hurt either. But those are just extra. You don’t need them if you don’t have them.

Now, if I’m pressed for time and know I won’t be back to prep veggies, I add some baby carrots and potatoes on the sides. Put the lid on and pop that bad boy in a 250* oven for 3-4 hours. I like to remove the lid and finish the chicken uncovered on 350 for about 30 minutes so the skin gets nice and crispy too 🤗.

Voila! Dinner is ready.

Alternatively, if you have more time to prep veggies later, you could also roast them on a sheet pan like so. Just remember to remove the chicken because you’ll need to crank the oven up to about 425-450 for 30 or so minutes!

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