Thursday, November 3, 2011

Herb Roasted Chicken

This chicken is perfect for company or as a delicious Sunday dinner. It tastes like something out of a five-star restaurant, but it is so easy to prepare and uses only one roasting pan (we all love less dishes!). This was one of the moistest and most flavorful chickens I have ever had, but the caramelized vegetables might be my favorite part. Not only do they taste great, but the caramelization turns the juice from the chicken into a  rich sauce that is to die for. So the key to this recipe is to let the vegetables roast in a little olive oil until they become caramelized and blackened around the edges, and then add a little extra chicken broth at the end to deglaze the pan and create the sauce. One time I accidentally added the chicken broth too early and the sauce wasn't nearly as flavorful. 

Also, I know fresh herbs are expensive so if you have any leftovers, try these other recipes that use some of the same herbs: boeuf bourguignon and slow-cooker beef brisket with onion gravy. And you can use the extra sage to make sage butter to serve with French bread. Just mix fresh sage with softened butter, form into a log, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate (the butter also keeps well in the freezer).   

Herb Roasted Chicken
Servings: 4 to 6

1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped into 2 inch pieces
5 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces on the bias
4-5 medium yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 whole roasting chicken (~ 5 lb.)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp. extra-virgin oil + extra for drizzling
1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3 sprigs sage
6 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1 lemon, halved
1 garlic bulb, halved (no need to remove the skins)
Chicken broth (~ 1-2 cups), if needed

Preheat the oven to 425°. Place the onion, carrots, and potatoes on the bottom of a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and spread into an even layer. Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Remove the giblets. Liberally salt and pepper the cavity. Place the chicken on a roasting rack placed over the vegetables. (If you don't have a roasting rack, then place the chicken directly on top of the vegetables.)

In a small bowl, mix the butter, 1 tbsp. olive oil, and chopped fresh herbs together. Gently run your hand between the skin and breast to loosen the skin. Rub the herb/butter/oil mixture under the skin of the breast and over the top of the entire chicken. Season the top of the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the herb sprigs, lemon, and garlic in the cavity of the chicken. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wings under. 

Cook for about 1 1/2 hours or until a thermometer placed between the thigh and breast registers 160-170°. If the vegetables begin to burn in the last 15-30 minutes, add chicken broth to coat the bottom of the pan. After the chicken registers 160-170°, remove the chicken from the oven and tent with foil. Let rest for 15 minutes before slicing. 

Return the pan with the vegetables to the oven and continue cooking while the chicken rests. After the chicken has rested, remove the vegetables from the oven and skim the fat off the top of the sauce (sometimes it is easier to skim the fat off after transferring the sauce to a glass measuring cup). Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a serving platter. Pour the sauce over the top or serve on the side. 

Source: A Much Kneaded original

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