Cooking a chicken on Sunday is a tradition in my house. It’s part of my meal prep for the week. Once or twice a month I cook a whole chicken, then shred it and store it in smaller freezer bags so I can use it throughout the week. Some makes it into lunches, some ends up in our dinner. I think it’s a great way to prepare for easy meals and it saves time on workdays.
Sure, it would probably be easier to run down to the grocery store and pick up a rotisserie chicken from the deli, but there are two reasons I don’t. First, I like to mix up the seasonings and the cooking method so the chicken is a little different every time. And second, the grocery store rotisserie chickens are made from the expiring chickens in the meat department. Let’s just say I’ve had a bad experience there.
I switch between two different methods when I cook a whole chicken. One is to prepare it in the slow cooker. It takes a little longer (approximately four hours) and the skin doesn’t get crispy, but the meat is always tender and moist. I’ll share that method in an upcoming post.
This week, however, I used the other method – oven roasting. Prepping takes less than ten minutes and the bird is usually done in about ninety minutes. Plus, easy clean up because I only use one pan. Well, more like a cast iron skillet. I like simplicity.
So here’s how it’s done.
Move the oven rack down a notch from center (so you have room for the pan and bird) and preheat to 450F.
Next, remove any giblets from the chicken and place the bird in a pan or cast iron skillet. This one is just under four pounds and apparently has a broken wing (I tried to tuck it under, but, well, you can see the sad result).
I also washed some small potatoes and grabbed a handful of basil from the patio. I love using fresh herbs when roasting a chicken. It imbues so much flavor without being as overpowering as spices.
Speaking of spices, I used just a few. Some salt, pepper, a pinch of garlic powder, and a bit of turmeric.
After I diced up the potatoes and added them to the pan with the chicken, I tossed some of the spices, along with the basil, inside the chicken, the dusted the rest over the outside of the bird and over the potatoes. Along with some olive oil. Almost forgot to mention that.
Once it’s all ready, slide the chicken into the oven, then immediate drop the temperature to 375F. This will help to give the skin a little sizzle and get things off to a good start. Rule of thumb: cook chicken approximately 20 minutes per pound. My oven heats a little low, so I went for 90 minutes.
While waiting on the chicken, I tossed the giblets (a neck, two livers, two hearts, and a gizzard – because why not two of almost everything?) in a pan with a tiny pinch of salt, then covered it in water. I put it on high to boil, then cut the heat and put a lid on the pan. That allowed it to steep. About twenty minutes later I pulled them out, chopped them up, then used the meaty bits and broth to put on my dog’s food for the next few days. Yeah, I’m a spoiler.
After 90 minutes, the bird and potatoes were done and looking good!
The potatoes cook in all that tasty rendered chicken fat and turn out somewhere between crispy and gummy. So good! I ended up shredding the bird and splitting it up into several small storage bags for the freezer. It’s so easy to pull one out, defrost it, and toss the meat into everything – salads, stir-fries, soup – or mix up a quick chicken salad.
Hope this inspires you to try something new. Enjoy!