Nothing impresses quite like a roasted chicken. It's beautiful and delicious and, most importantly, can be the source of many meals. Many people shy away from roasting the whole bird, thinking it will be difficult and that they won't use it all. Especially with so many individually wrapped and flash frozen chicken bits floating around, it seems unnecessary. But get that thought out of your head! Roasting a chicken is one of the easiest things to do with the most payoff.
- If your chicken is frozen, thaw it in advance! Don't ever try to cook a frozen, or partially frozen, bird. Fresh or recently thawed, give it a good wash in the sink, inside and out.
- Preheat your oven to 375.
- In a bowl combine 1/4 c. fresh rosemary and thyme (destemmed and minced) with 1 tbsp. salt, a generous amount of freshly ground pepper, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 4 tbsp. melted butter, and 1 tbsp. lemon juice. Give the mixture a good stir.
- With your hands, (yes, really), smear the mixture over the entire chicken. The butter will start to solidify a bit, but that will help keep it in place. Feel free to put the lemon rind and any remaining herbs in the body cavity.
- Roast for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, depending on weight.
- Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Even if you're cooking just for yourself, don't feel intimidated by the whole chicken. Carve what you will eat the first night. After your meal, set to taking care of the rest of it.
- Carve the entire bird, keeping like parts together.
- Put what you will eat in the next day or two in the refrigerator.
- Put the other parts in good quality freezer bags labeled with their contents. I keep the thighs together, the breast meat, etc. For easy defrosting, pack what you think you will use for a single dish in individual bags.
- Save that carcass! Use it to make soup or chicken stock. Simply remove any remaining skin, plop it in a large pot, cover with water, add a bit of onion and seasoning, and simmer on the stovetop until the bones fall apart. You can do this the same day or keep it covered in the refrigerator for a day or two. The stock can easily be frozen for future use.
- The remaining meat can be used for sandwiches, rice dishes, soup, enchiladas, pot pies, or anything else you can think of.