For someone who roasts a whole chicken probably once a month, it’s a bit embarrassing that I only have three roast chicken recipes on this site. While all of them are delicious, none of them are my go-to recipe, and that’s an oversight.
1) Perfect crispy skin requires air-drying the chicken for a few hours, and Sundays are perfect for that — unwrap the chicken and pat it down with paper towels, then let it sit in the fridge uncovered for 4-6 hours.
2) Who doesn’t love a succulent roast chicken on a Sunday night? Best way to beat the Sunday scaries.
3) The leftovers are a godsend for busy weeknights: chopped into a quick salad or pasta dish, shredded and tossed with enchilada sauce for easy chicken tacos, thrown into a casserole — the possibilities are endless.
A perfect roast chicken must have two things: crispy skin and juicy, tender, flavorful meat. Air-drying the skin and then rubbing it with a seasoned oil ensures skin that’s so crispy that it audibly crackles, the kind of skin that literally starts fights. (“Did you eat my chicken skin?” “… I thought you were done eating …” Yes, these are the things bae and I argue over.) Sitting the chicken on a roasting rack (or better yet, a vegetable trivet*) also keeps the skin crispy, since the fat can drip off without leaving the underside of the chicken rubbery.
I use a blend of thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, garlic powder, paprika and lots of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. (If you have certain spices you love with chicken, feel free to swap them in — this is all about comfort food and what you want to eat.) Placing a lemon and some garlic cloves in the chicken cavity also imparts a ton of flavor throughout the meat, and the lemon keeps the breast meat juicy. I also use one of my favorite turkey roasting techniques: starting the chicken breast-side down and then flipping it halfway through cooking.
An hour in the oven transforms the chicken into crispy-skinned, tender-fleshed perfection. It needs nothing more than the roasted vegetables at the bottom of the pan and a carby side. (Perfect potatoes to go with your perfect roast chicken, perhaps?)
*A vegetable trivet is basically a bunch of chopped vegetables that form an impromptu roasting rack. I’ve used everything here: onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, apples, broccoli, Brussels sprouts — any hardy vegetable will do.
- 1 3- to 4-pound whole chicken
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1-1/2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 lemon, halved
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed (this could be onion wedges, carrot/celery sticks, quartered Yukon potatoes, broccoli florets, a combo of all the above -- I've experimented a lot with the "vegetable trivet")
- Line a large plate with paper towels. Remove the chicken from its packaging (removing any giblets or anything in the chicken cavity) and place it on the plate, then use additional paper towels to pat down the chicken. Place the chicken, uncovered, in the fridge and let it air-chill for 4-8 hours.
- Once your chicken has air-chilled for a few hours, preheat the oven to 425F. Scatter the Brussels sprouts in the bottom of a roasting pan or 15-inch cast-iron skillet.
- In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper and salt. Rub the herbed oil all over the chicken. Place the two lemon halves and the garlic cloves in the cavity of the chicken, then tie the legs together with kitchen twine. (I don't always do this -- you'll survive if you don't.)
- Place the chicken breast-side down on the bed of Brussels sprouts. Roast for 30 minutes, then using tongs, carefully flip the chicken so that the breast is up (the way you're used to roasting chicken). Roast for an addition 30-40 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165F.
- Remove from the oven, and let the chicken sit for 5 minutes, then carve and serve with the roasted Brussels sprouts on the side.