Personally, this is one of those recipes that seems to be intimidating (with cooking a whole bird instead of just parts), but it turns out to be very simple, with no hidden tricks along the way. There are about ten thousand different variations (give or take 2 thousand) on how to roast a chicken, with what herbs, glazes, vegetables, etc, etc, and I chose to make this version because I knew both my husband and I would like it. Keep in mind, however, that main concept for a roast chicken is to keep it simple! I used just rosemary for seasoning with red potatoes and onions for the side, and it was wonderful, savory, and rustic. I'm not really a big fan of potatoes in the first place, but these were cooked and seasoned just right, and I made them disappear! The only thing I was disappointed in was that I couldn't find fresh rosemary at the grocery store I bought the rest of the ingredients from. If you have the option, always use fresh herbs, but dried, crushed seasonings work well as alternatives.
The meal as a whole turned out to be very economical as well. I bought a 4.5 pound chicken that went for $5, paired with the always cheap potatoes and onions. The best part was that after eating dinner, there was still about three fourths of the meat left that I was able to shred and refrigerate for sandwiches or salads that will last for the rest of the week. You can also save the drippings for soups, dressing, etc. All in all, it's a family-friendly and budget-friendly classic.
I chose to do my own version of a bruschetta on the side, sinc
e the crusty bread compliments the juicy and tender chicken. I just browned 2 cloves of garlic with olive oil on the stove, diced 2 tomatoes, and let it all simmer with some basil and salt for about 2o minutes. I buttered one side of slices of french bread, broiled it until it browned, and topped it with the tomato mixture. Maybe not the traditional way to make a bruschetta, but it was good nonetheless!
I think this is a great dish for newer cooks like myself, since it is relatively fail-proof and turns out visually appealing and very tasty. : )
4-6 pound chicken (I used Tyson brand all natural)
2 tbsp canola oil
2 yellow onions, sliced horizontally
4 small red potatoes, cut into quarters
1 tbsp crushed rosemary, or fresh sprigs if available
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 450, and set the rack in the bottom 1/3 of the oven
2. Rinse chicken with water, making sure to remove any giblets or innards. Pat dry with a paper towel, inside and out. With your hands, coat chicken with one tbsp of canola oil on the outside. Salt and pepper the inside and outside evenly. Sprinkle outside liberally with rosemary. Truss the chicken.
3. In a roasting pan (I chose not to use a rack), line the bottom of the pan with the sliced onions. Use a brush to coat them lightly with canola oil. (see picture below)
4. Place chicken, breast side up, on top of the onions. (The onions serve as a sort of platform for the chicken and add a good flavor to the drippings as you are basting.) Place potatoes around the chicken, sprinkle with rosemary, salt, and pepper.
5. Put the pan in the oven and cook at 450 for 20 minutes.
6. Remove from oven, lower temperature to 375. Stir potatoes and baste the chicken. Bake at 375 for an additional 40-60 minutes, basting every 20 minutes. You will know that your chicken is cooked when the juice runs clear, not pink. You can either pierce the chicken in the center, or slant it so that the juice runs out of the center to determine the color.
7. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Leave excess drippings in the pan. Serve and eat up!
...aaand the final result (please excuse my mismatched tableware!) : )