This is one of my go-to weekday meals. It does take a little planning because the chicken can take up to two hours and the potatoes take about 45 minutes. But the prep is super quick and the oven does most of the work. I recently started splurging on the chicken and buying the organic, free-range whole chicken at Ralphs. It is more expensive than the regular chickens, but the taste is significantly better. I was very surprised by how much better and juicer the organic chickens are from regular chickens. Even my boyfriend noticed, and I didn’t tell him that the chicken was an organic, free-range version. I justified the price increase because baking the chicken myself is slightly less than the deli’s pre-cooked chickens.
Lemon Herb Chicken:
- One organic whole chicken (about 5 lbs)
- 3 Tbsp lemon pepper
- 2 Tbsp garlic
- 2 Tbsp basil
- 1 Tbsp paprika
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 3-4 organic red potatoes
- 1 Tbsp rosemary
- 2 cups organic mixed green
- 1 organic green onion chopped
- ½ cup organic cucumber sliced
- 1 Tbsp dried cranberries
- 1 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinaigrette
I have baked many chickens in my short life and tried many different techniques. The one that has worked the best for me is to cook it upside down at 350. In other words the breast is on the rack and the legs are in the air. This way, as the bird cooks, the juices from the “fattier” dark meat run down through the breast meat keeping the white meat moist. Then about 20 minutes before the end of baking I flip the bird back over to crisp the skin.
If you have never baked a chicken before, this can be a little intimidating. Before I begin handling the chicken I preheat my oven, and I pull out my spices and create a rub by combining lemon pepper, garlic, basil, paprika, salt and pepper. To by honest I don’t measure I just pour the spices into a bowl until it looks like a good mix. Also make sure your baking pan is out and ready by lightly spraying with pan or other spray. You don’t want to be fumbling through your cupboards with chicken hands.
To prep the chicken, first, remove the whole chicken from the plastic, remove the bag of innards (check the large cavity as well as the small cavity under the flap of skin on the neck side), and rinse the chicken thoroughly inside and out. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Rub your spices all over the outside of the chicken and pour some into the cavity. Place the chicken upside-down on your pan. Place the chicken in the oven and let it cook. I set a timer for an hour so I can add my potatoes for the second half of the baking.
Potatoes: cut red potatoes (no need to peel them) into bite sized pieces and place them into a casserole dish. Sprinkle with rosemary and cover. Bake in the oven at 350 until the potatoes are tender. (about 45 minutes).
Salad: Combine mixed greens, cucumber, green onion, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds. Balsamic vinaigrette is a good choice of dressing but almost any dressing would work too.
One of the best things about a whole chicken it is allows multiple meals in one package. First the roasted chicken dinner, then soup.
To make the chicken stock, place the leftover bones in a pot, cover with water, and simmer. I usually simmer for a few days. For extra flavor, you can add celery, onion, and carrots. Then strain stock to remove the bones and solid bits. You can store it for a few days in the refrigerator or use it right away.