How to Roast a Chicken

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You guys! This is my go-to meal for a killer, stick-to-your-ribs Sunday dinner—with plenty of leftovers for the rest of the week.

I generally roast two chickens at a time. That way, The Angry Chef and I have more than enough dinner—and for later.

The spicy, crispy wings will always be my favorite.

I’m partial to organic birds these days, but use your favorite kind.

I generally get roasters that are 4-5 lbs. each.

The best way to season a roast chicken

So, if you know me, you know that one of my favorite ways to season any kind of chicken is a mesquite blend with a liberal pour of whiskey.

That’s what I used this time. (Jameson’s FTW! <3)

The mesquite seasoning comes from one of my favorite vendors of all times, Mountain Rose Herbs.

I threw in some fresh lemon and rosemary to brighten the whole shebang up.

By all means, use your fav flavor combos. For example, you could try:

  • Chili powder, cilantro, lime zest, and tequila
  • Rosemary, thyme, garlic, a little lavender, and white wine
  • Lemon zest, garlic, and parsley
  • Cajun seasoning and your favorite craft beer
  • Garlic, rosemary, minced red pepper, and Guinness
  • Scallions, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, and white wine

You see what I’m saying. Get creative!

(Have a favorite? Leave a comment below, share the love!)

How to use roast chicken leftovers

Leftover roast chicken can provide an awesome recipe base for days.

Need some inspiration?

  • Toss some shredded chicken onto a spinach salad with a little goat cheese, some toasted walnuts, and pumpkin seeds.
  • Rock Taco Tuesday with chicken, shredded cheddar, fresh guacamole, caramelized onions, and roasted red peppers.
  • Make a chicken quesadilla with pepper jack, thinly sliced green peppers, and sliced mushrooms.
  • Slice the meat thin and make a chicken carver style sandwich on a toasted French roll with melted cheese of your choice (we like American and Swiss!).
  • Mix some shredded chicken with your favorite BBQ sauce, and use it to top a homemade pizza with fresh mozzarella, smoked gouda, and minced red onion.
  • Pull the last of the meat off the carcass, set it aside, and make a rich chicken stock with the bones, then use that meat in your final soup.

Use your imagination. You get the idea!

Alrighty, to the ovens!


Easy Mesquite Roasted Chicken with Whiskey 

2 whole roasting chickens, about 4-5 lbs. each
2-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 large lemon, quartered
Olive oil
3-4 Tablespoons mesquite spice mix
Kosher salt, to taste
Dried parsley
1 cup water
1/2 cup Irish whiskey

Serves 4-6, with generous leftovers

Do a little prep

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Line a sheet pan with foil. Set a roasting rack on top.

Set aside for a sec while you prep your birds.

Season your whole roasting chickens

Grab your chickens. Free them from their wrappers.

Remove the giblets and discard or save the for later (freeze them for stock, etc!).

Give them a quick rinse under cold water.

Pat dry with paper towels and set on your prepared pan.

Stuff some rosemary in the cavity of each chicken.

Squeeze the lemon wedges over your birds and then divide the wedges between the cavities of each bird.

Drizzle each bird with a little olive oil.

Sprinkle with mesquite seasoning, kosher salt and dried parsley to taste.

Rub the seasoning all over the outside of the birds, so they’re evenly coated.

Be sure to get the inside and outside of their little wings.

Don’t make yourself nuts with this. Roast chicken is a rustic affair, after all. 😉

Be sure to always wash your hands when dealing with raw poultry to avoid any kind of cross contamination.

At this point, truss your chickens if you like.

For this recipe, I generally don’t bother, but it’s up to you.

Pour the water in the bottom of the pan.

Pour some whiskey in the cavity of each chicken. If it runs out into the pan, that’s just fine.

Roast your chickens

Pop your pan into your preheated, 375-degree F oven.

Roast for 30-40 mins.

After 30-40 minutes, tent loosely with aluminum foil, then roast for another 60 minutes or until done.

Your chickens are done when the juices run clear and the fattest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F on a meat thermometer.

Your final roasting time will vary, depending on the weight of your chickens and your particular oven.

Just keep an eye on them and check the temp early and often.

When your chickens are done, remove them from the oven and place on a rack, still tented with foil, for about 10 minutes.

Carve, serve, and enjoy!

When your chickens are done, carve ’em up, enjoy—and save the leftovers for tomorrow!

Bon appetit!

How to Roast a Chicken

Yields Serves 4-6, with generous leftovers

This is my go-to meal for a killer, stick-to-your-ribs Sunday dinner—with a ton of leftovers for the rest of the week.

Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

2 whole roasting chickens, about 4-5 lbs. each
2-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 large lemon, quartered
Olive oil
3-4 Tablespoons mesquite spice mix
Kosher salt, to taste
Dried parsley
1 cup water
1/2 cup Irish whiskey

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with foil. Set a roasting rack on top. Set aside for a sec while you prep your birds.
  2. Grab your chickens. Free them from their wrappers. Remove the giblets and discard or save the for later (freeze them for stock, etc!). Give them a quick rinse under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels and set on your prepared pan.
  3. Stuff some rosemary in the cavity of each chicken. Squeeze the lemon wedges over your birds and then divide the wedges between the cavities of each bird.
  4. Drizzle each bird with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with mesquite seasoning, and kosher salt and dried parsley to taste. Rub the seasoning all over the outside of the birds, so they're evenly coated. Be sure to the inside and outside of their little wings.
  5. At this point, truss your chickens if you like. For this recipe, I generally don't bother, but it's up to you.
  6. Pour the water in the bottom of the pan. Pour some whiskey in the cavity of each chicken.
  7. Pop your pan into your preheated, 375-degree F oven. Roast for 30-40 mins.
  8. After 30-40 minutes, tent loosely with aluminum foil, then roast for another 60 minutes or until done. Your chickens are done when the juices run clear and the fattest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F on a meat thermometer. Your final roasting time will vary, depending on the weight of your chickens and your particular oven.
  9. When your chickens are done, remove them from the oven and place on a rack, still tented with foil, for about 10 minutes.
  10. Carve, serve, and enjoy!
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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie works as an advertising copywriter in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

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