Nothing says “home-cooked meal” quite like a juicy, golden chicken layered atop a bed of bright vegetables. But sometimes, the process — and yes, the mouthwatering photos — make this dinner look more difficult than it actually is. Truthfully, it doesn’t have to be complicated to produce a crispy roast chicken that’s flavored with herbs, onion and lemon. Pour some some olive oil on the outside, place some herbed butter under the skin and throw a bundle of aromatics inside: that’s all you need to elevate a humble bird into an elegant main dish that will warm the hearts of all your dinner guests.
7-pound whole chicken
1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons softened butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped sage
5 sprigs of fresh parsley
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 lemon, quartered
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 small yellow onion, quartered
4 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
Step 1: Rinse and Salt the Chicken
Rinse the chicken under cold water. Remove the giblets inside the chicken and discard. Pat the chicken with paper towels to remove the moisture. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the chicken in an even layer. Place the chicken, uncovered, in the refrigerator for an hour.
Step 2: Make the Sage Butter
Combine the butter with the chopped sage in a small bowl.
Step 3: Prep and Roast the Chicken
Spread the carrots, potatoes, 1/2 the quartered onion and 1/2 the quartered lemon in an even layer in a large skillet or a roasting pan. Then, place the chicken on top of the potatoes and carrots. At the opening of the cavity (near the legs), carefully separate the skin from the meat. Rub the herbed butter underneath the skin of each breast. After, rub the outside of the chicken with the olive oil so that it’s evenly coated all over. Place the rest of the lemon, garlic, herb sprigs and onion inside the chicken. Lastly, tuck the wings under the chicken and tie the legs with some kitchen twine. Roast the chicken at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 minutes to 75 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 4: Remove the Chicken From the Oven
Remove the chicken from the oven. Carefully transfer the chicken from the pan to a cutting board. Check the vegetables. If they are “fork tender,” turn the oven off and cover the dish to keep the vegetables warm until serving. If they need more time, turn the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and place them back in the oven to roast while the chicken is resting.
Step 5: Carve the Chicken
Remove the kitchen twine and let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving. To carve, first remove the legs and thighs by cutting a slit in between the leg and the breast where the skin is stretched. Cut around the joint. Then, flip the chicken over and cut around the thigh. Using your hand, twist the leg and thigh until the joint is removed. Repeat with the other leg and thigh.
Now, place the chicken breast-side down to remove the wings. Cut around the wing to expose the joint and, using your hands, pop the wing off the joint. Repeat with the other wing. To remove the breasts, align the knife just off the center of the backbone and slice down along the ribs. Using your hand, gently pull the breast from the bone. Repeat with the other breast.
There will be additional meat left on the chicken, so just pull the pieces off. Serve these alongside the other chicken pieces, or save them for sandwiches.