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Herb Roasted Chicken

It was cold in Portland this past week. The local news and weather reporters were giddy with it. The sun was shining, temperatures dipped into the 20’s and we were delighted to have some change in the weather to brighten our spirits and give us something to talk about.

While the local reporters and meteorologists talked about the effects of these temperatures, the promising skiing conditions, the burden of high utility bills and the danger of exposure, my thoughts turned to the kitchen. This small blast of winter weather made me want to cozy up and turn the oven on. Unsure of what I wanted to use it for I turned to the first thing I saw when I opened the refrigerator, a whole chicken I'd bought on a whim.

Having a chicken roasting in the oven is delightful when it’s cold outside. I pulled out my Le Creuset oval french oven and tucked the chicken inside with sprigs of thyme and a lemon and popped it into the oven.

In no time at all the kitchen was warm and a wonderful aroma was wafting through the house announcing a nourishing meal for dinner. Meanwhile, what a great time to curl up near the warm stove with a book about French-inspired cuisine, maybe "Joie de Vivre" by Robert Arbor, while waiting for that herb-roasted chicken to be ready for dinner.

There are many "recipes" for roasting chicken. This version is adapted from one in Donata Maggipinto's "Real-Life Entertaining."

Herb Roasted Chicken

1 whole chicken, 3 1/2 to 4 pounds
1 fresh lemon, halved
freshly ground black pepper
several sprigs of fresh thyme (or sage or rosemary)
1 Tablespoon olive oil

Rub a bit of oil on the inside of a roasting pan. (I use a 5-quart Le Creuset oval french oven but another dutch oven or roasting pan will work just fine.)

Remove anything that came stored inside the chicken. Wash the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels. Rub one half of the lemon over the chicken, inside and out. Season the cavity with salt and pepper. Squeeze the juice from the other lemon half inside the chicken and tuck the lemon rind inside the cavity along with several sprigs of fresh herbs.

Place the chicken in the prepared roasting pan breast side up. Tuck it into shape. (I don't bother to tie it or truss it.)

Rub the olive oil all over the skin of the chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Separate the skin from the chicken breast with your fingers, creating a pocket. Tuck several sprigs of herbs into the pocket over each breast.

Place the roasting pan in the middle of a hot oven and roast the chicken, uncovered, at 450 degrees until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 180 degrees, approximately 1 hour.

Remove from oven, tent with foil, and let the chicken rest for 10 or 15 minutes. Carve and serve with pan juices.


Madame K said...

There's nothing like roast chicken to satisfy comfort-food cravings, and yours looks delicious.

I visited Portland for the first time last summer, and I'm all ready to relocate! Too bad it's probably just a dream, for now.

Anonymous said...

When you put the chicken in the oven, do you put the lid on? Do you cover for half the time? Thanks, Mario (Miami)

Lisa said...

Mario - No, I don't cover it at all. The chicken nicely tucks into the dutch oven but is left open on top to crisp and brown.
Thanks for your question. I'm glad stopped by!

Anonymous said...

The chicken was great, everybody loved it. Juicy and Crispy. Thanks Lisa. Mario (Miami)

Unknown said...

Test-drove my "new"/vintage (ebay) Le Creuset french oven with this recipe today - perfect for a Hudson Valley snowstormy day!! I filled the cocotte with cut-up root veggies from our winter farmers' market, and yellow potatoes, added fresh rosemary and olive oil and nestled the chicken on top - the smell was astonishing - left it covered for most of the cooking time as I had mis-read the recipe, but it came out fine, really tender, just not super-browned. A winner! ;-}

Lisa said...

wht_rab2003 - Sounds great! Having a chicken in the oven is the perfect remedy to the cold. The root vegetables sound like a delicious accompaniment. Glad the recipe worked well for you!

Kat said...

Do you roast it at 450 degrees even in the Le Creuset?

Lisa said...

Alison - So glad it turned out well for you!

Katherine - Yes. The type of pan shouldn't effect the method of preparation. Roasting the chicken at a high temperature cooks the chicken relatively quickly and finishes it with an attractive crispy brown skin.

I like the oval Le Creuset pan because it suits the shape of the chicken and the chicken nestles into it nicely.

Good luck!

Corner Gardener Sue said...

I just got a Le Creuset 7.25 quart round French oven because I have been wanting one, and I had a $25 off coupon at a local furniture store, which already had them for a pretty good price. I had one a size smaller over 25 years ago, and the lid broke. I either got rid of it or gave it to our daughter. I've been missing it now that we have a gas stove.

Anyway, I found this post looking for a recipe for some chicken breasts I had. I used fresh rosemary, oregano, and thyme from a a pot in my garden window under the skin, and just sprinkled them with bottled lemon juice. My husband said they were good, that "I'd spend $225 on them, oh that's right, I did!" LOL

I'll have to check to see if you are still blogging.

raisingirl said...

My attempts at recipes never look like the posted pics on blogs or photos in glossy books ... until tonight. I followed your recipe and roasted a chicken in my cheapie World Market dutch oven and my bird was beautiful. Of course the big pay off was that it tasted divine. Thanks for the post!

Lisa said...

raisingirl - I'm so glad the recipe turned out well for you. Thanks for sharing your experience!

C-Liz-Go said...

Question - what about making this with Cornish hens? How long would I need to bake them for? Making 2 for Easter dinner. Thank you, Liz in Houston. P.S. This will be my first time using my Le Creuset pot my mother gave me years ago for Christmas.

Lisa said...

In my experience I would roast a cornish hen uncovered at 450F for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 375F and continue roasting until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 170 - 180 degrees, or until juices run clear when cut between a leg and thigh, approximately 30 minutes more. Times will vary depending on the actual size of the cornish hen. If you buy your hen frozen it is also important to let it thaw completely, preferably in the refrigerator, before roasting.

Good luck with your dinner and enjoy your Le Creuset pot. I love mine for making pot roast and roasting lamb shanks too. Happy Easter!

Anonymous said...

I made this for dinner tonight and it not only looked wonderful, the taste was sublime. Very moist and so easy! Thanks!

Claire Conlon said...

We've roasted many chickens using everyone's "best ever" or "favorite" recipe, but my husband and I were both thrilled with this one! THIS roasted chicken recipe makes our favorite list! Thanks for sharing!

Haus Miller said...

It could just be my itty bitty, top-heating-element, German oven, but after 45 minutes the skin on top was burnt and the chicken was done. It was still tasty, but I should have been more careful and used the lid for a portion of the cooking time.

Lisa said...

Sorry about that, Haus! Perhaps I should have noted that I was using a full size electric (30-inch) oven with heating element on the bottom. It's the only type of oven I have ever used for roasting so I'm not sure what precautions should be taken (how or when the chicken should be checked) when using other types of ovens. I suppose it is always best to check periodically and adjust as necessary. If the chicken is golden but is not yet done, covering it (or tenting it with aluminum foil) should keep it from burning on top until it is cooked through.
Thanks for reading and trying the recipe! I'm glad to hear your chicken was still tasty and I hope you will stop by My Own Sweet Thyme again.

Maria K said...

I'm making this chicken today and have made it several times in the past. Just thought I should drop you a line to let you know that this is my favorite roasted chicken recipe. So easy, and it comes out perfect every time. I really need to try to get to some of your other recipes. They look delicious.

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