I can’t believe this was ever true about me, but I used to not eat meat if it was still attached to bones. Seriously. I ate it only if it didn’t too closely resemble the animal that it once was so my meals consisted of a lot of ground beef, chicken breasts, and deli meats– not super exciting. Then, on a visit to a friend in Baltimore, I ate the most magnificent roasted chicken still on the bones from a Peruvian restaurant and I was a changed woman. It was so full of flavor and tender and just plain delicious that I did away with my silly old rule and have not looked back since.
It should also be mentioned that chicken is one of my least favorite meats. In general I find it to be rather dull and it is often the last thing I will order at a restaurant unless of course it is the restaurant’s specialty. You don’t go to the Chicken Shack and order fish. You just don’t. At any rate I have discovered that roasting a whole chicken is not only easy-as-pie it is also mouth-wateringly delightful when done right.
This recipe is so simple that even the most novice of cooks can get it right. You just put a whole chicken in a bowl with some sage, lemons, olive oil, salt and pepper, cover it tightly and stick it in the fridge for 24 hours. (Note: when I made this I did not have 24 hours so I stuck it in the fridge for only 4 hours before roasting and it still tasted great.)
After marinating you throw it in a roasting pan– you can add carrots, celery, and onions if you so desire (I did not), and then roast it in the oven for a little over an hour and voila! A beautiful roasted bird, bones and all.
Herb-Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Sage (recipe by Eric and Bruce Bromberg, found in House Beautiful magazine)
- 1 (3- to 3 1/2-pound) whole chicken, patted dry with paper towels
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch of fresh sage leaves (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and halved crosswise (for whole chicken only), optional
- 3 celery stalks, cut crosswise into thirds (for whole chicken only), optional
- 1 large onion, peeled and cut into large chunks (for whole chicken only), optional
Put the chicken in a large bowl. Add the oil, lemon, and sage; toss well. Cover tightly and transfer to the refrigerator to marinate for 24 hours.
The next day, let the chicken stand at room temperature for 30 minutes while the oven preheats to 450 degrees.
Sprinkle the chicken inside and out with the seasoning. Remove the lemon slices and sage from the marinade and stuff them inside the chicken cavity. Scatter the carrots, celery, and onion, if using, over the bottom of a roasting pan. Pour just enough water into the pan to cover the bottom. Arrange the chicken, breast-side up, on top of the vegetables, if desired, or place the chicken on a roasting rack over the vegetables.
Transfer the pan to the center oven rack; roast for 20 minutes. Baste with the pan juices, and continue roasting, basting once or twice, for 25 minutes more (if the chicken is not golden-brown all over at this point, continue to cook for 10 more minutes).
Reduce the heat to 325 degrees. Finish roasting, without basting, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees, 20 to 25 minutes longer. Let the chicken stand for five minutes before carving. Serve with the pan juices and vegetables, if desired.