For our Imbolc Ritual this past weekend, I decided to roast a whole chicken, something I have never done before. I was a little intimidated, so I decided to go with a fairly simple recipe and let gravy add flavor if flavor was lacking. I just bought a chicken from the grocery store, and it was already cleaned, was not frozen (a fear I had at about 8am when I woke up the day of, knowing that I would not be able to defrost and cook the chicken in time), and was delicious. Hope you enjoy this as much as we all did!
Simple Roasted Chicken
Prep time: 10-20 minutes (more if you have to clean the chicken yourself)
Cook time: approx. 1.5 – 2 hours*
Serves: 4 to 6
1 roasting chicken, cleaned and prepped
2 lemons, halved
2 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
butter or margarine
1 L chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
Poultry gravy mix – optional
Clean and prep your chicken. If the chicken has not been trussed at the store, you will need kitchen twine to properly tie up your chicken.
Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the garlic cloves and 2 lemon halves. It’s easiest if you stuff the last lemon half in cut-side first, it forms a natural “cap” to keep everything in the chicken while it’s baking.
Gently run your fingers between the meat and skin on the outside of the chicken to separate the skin from the breast meat, without tearing the skin. Using your fingers, stuff as much butter or margarine as you like between the skin and meat. Stuff in fresh sprigs of rosemary as well.
Preheat oven.* Place chicken on roasting pan. Squeeze juice from remaining 2 lemon halves, and pour over chicken. Add some chicken broth and some water to bottom of roasting pan. Salt and pepper the outside of the chicken. If you want it to be less brown and crispy, and want to keep the moisture in, “tent” your chicken with tinfoil while baking. If not, pop it in the oven and wait for it to be done.
To make gravy: pour pan juices into medium pot. Add chicken broth / water as necessary. If needed, add 1 package of poultry gravy to increase flavor. Thanks to the lemon juice we poured over the chicken earlier, your gravy will have a nice citrus tang to it.
Allow chicken to sit, covered with tinfoil, for 10 minutes or so before carving and serving. Discard rosemary under skin, and lemons and garlic in cavity. I used the leftover rosemary to line the serving platter, for a touch of elegance.
*Most store-bought chickens should have their weight, recommended temperature, and recommended cook time per lb / kg on the package. If I remember correctly my chicken was just over 2kg at 32 min/kg to cook. It also came with a pop-up “I’m done!” thing, and I went by that pop-up thing, which cooked my chicken perfectly.