Whole herb roasted chicken has been a delicious milestone in my culinary journey, allowing me to be more confident in the preparation of intimidating whole birds. When I first made this recipe, I had no idea how this would turn out. I had doubts about seasoning, cooking time, gravy making, and the juiciness of my bird. Fortunately, the only issue I had to conquer was the cooking time. I felt that some of the meat towards the bone seemed slightly under done, or at least my gut was telling me that and I definitely listen to my gut.
This time I’m writing about my second whole herb roasted chicken and with the lessons learned from the first, I’m becoming a whole chicken, butt kickin’ ninja. This recipe was adapted from “Kelsey’s Essentials”- Roasted Chicken with Lemon, Garlic, and Thyme. I started with a 6 pound whole chicken and rinsed every inch of it under cold running water.
To make the compound butter that flavors this dish, I followed Kelsey’s proportions of garlic and lemon zest, but used a combination of herbs instead of simply thyme
In a bowl, I mixed together 4 tablespoons of softened butter, 2 teaspoons of lemon zest, 4 minced cloves of garlic, 3 tablespoons of an herb mixture (sage, thyme, rosemary), and salt/ pepper.
Now is the fun part. I rubbed 2 tablespoons of the compound butter underneath the skin of the chicken. I took note to be gentle as to not rip the skin. Then I used the last 2 tablespoons of the compound butter and coated the outside of the chicken as best as I could. I quartered 1 lemon, quartered 1 onion, and gathered the remaining herbs to stuff inside the cavity of the chicken. As you can see, I had the chicken stuffed to the brim.. literally. One point I should make is to get cooking twine and tie the legs together as Kelsey notes. I left my chicken spread eagle and it wasn’t as cooperative as it would have been tied together.
One of the nifty tricks I learned with this recipe was that propping your chicken up on a bed of vegetables not only saves your chicken from sticking/ burning, but provides a sensational array of flavors for a hearty gravy as the chicken juices drip into the veggies. I cut up 3 carrots ,4 stalks of celery, and 1 whole onion into 2 inch pieces.
I sprinkled salt and pepper over the chicken and set it into a preheated oven at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Then reduced the heat to 375 and roasted it for about 55 minutes. Make sure a thermometer, if you have one, reads 160 degrees. Here is what the herb roasted chicken looked like before it was done:
And here is what the roasted chicken looked like after it was done:
The Marjoram rice
I was getting bored with plain white rice so I decided to try adding this mystery herb that I purchased on sale: Marjoram. I’ve never used marjoram, let alone even knew what it was, but to my surprise, it worked. I added 1 cup of long grain uncooked rice to 2 cups of water, about a tablespoon of chopped marjoram, and then a tablespoon of butter.
I brought it to a boil, then put a lid over it, turned the heat down, and simmered for 17 minutes.
For the homemade gravy, I drained the juices from the bottom of the pan:
Poured in 3/4 of a cup of chicken broth and whisked in 2 tablespoons of Wondra flour.
This is how I plated the dish:
I hope you enjoy roasting chickens as much as I did. No matter how intimidating it seems, they aren’t all that complicated.