>Basic Roasted Chicken Recipe with a Twist


Roasted Chicken is a Weekly Staple in our House

Earlier this week, when I blogged about a creamy chicken and mushroom casserole to get the school year started off right, I hunted fruitlessly through my archives for a basic roasted chicken recipe. I roast a chicken almost every week, either for a quick weekend lunch or for an easy weekday dinner. I usually roast two and stretch the chicken meat over multiple meals like casseroles or enchiladas. And I always use the chicken bones to make stock, beautiful golden stock with glowing bubbles of tasty fat, like a fine champagne.

But even though roasted chicken are such an important part of my weekly menus, I somehow never shared my basic chicken recipe on this blog.  Until today.

Yesterday I made my basic roasted chicken recipe, with Cornish Game Hens. The only difference from my regular recipe is the cooking time, as these younger chickens cook faster. Also, the fun factor is much higher with Cornish Game Hens, whose name I changed to Magical Mini Chickens for the purpose of marketing them to my kids. They were a big hit, particularly the teeny, tiny drumsticks.

I like to serve roasted chicken with a shallot pan sauce which I think is the perfect dipping liquid for roasted fingerling potatoes, but you don’t have to. This roasted chicken, with its crispy and subtly seasoned skin, is delicious hot or cold on its own.

Massaging some butter into the bird

Basic Roasted Chicken
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour

  • 1 or 2 whole chickens (fryers are usually 3 or 4 pounds and roasters are typically 5 to 7 pounds – I usually go for free range fryers and just make 2) 
  • 1 tablespoon of butter 
  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil 
  • 3 teaspoons of Penzey’s Spices Old World Seasoning (I don’t usually like recommending a product that you cannot find in your local supermarket, but I love this Penzey’s spice. You can get it via mail order and it gives the skin a gorgeous color and tastes wonderful. It’s a mixture of paprika, salt, sugar, celery, garlic, onion, black pepper, parsley, dill, caraway, turmeric, dill, bay leaf, marjoram, thyme, savory, basil, rosemary)

For the pan sauce:

  • 2 shallots, chopped finely 
  • 1/4 cups of white wine  
  • 3/4 cups of chicken stock or water (chicken stock will give it more flavor)

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. (Some of you may be raising your eyebrows already, but I am a believer in a very hot oven for my birds. Makes the skin crunchy and keeps meat moist.)
  2. Pour the vegetable oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle in the Penzey’s Old World Spice seasoning. Set aside.
  3. Take the butter out of the fridge and cut into 1/4 inch dices.
  4. Take your chickens out of the fridge and put them in a large baking pan breast side up. The drumsticks should be pointing up towards the ceiling, like a conductor facing his orchestra. The baking pan should not be Pyrex. It should be a pan that you can put on your burners directly and heat very hot to make the pan sauce after roasting.
  5. Slip your fingers under the skin over the breasts (see picture above) to loosen the skin. Slip in a pat of butter and massage it into the skin. Repeat for each breast.
  6. Pour the vegetable oil over the skin all over each bird and massage it in. Sprinkle a little extra seasoning on top if you like.
  7. Wash your hands carefully to remove all raw chicken juices.
  8. Put the chickens in the oven and roast for an hour or so, until the inner temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit or the chicken is pricked with a fork and its juices run clear.

To Make the Sauce

  1. Remove the roasted chicken to a separate plate. Do not clean the pan or remove any pan drippings. If the chicken was very greasy, you should pour most of the grease out of the pan though.
  2. Chop the shallots and measure the wine and chicken stock.
  3. Set the roasting pan onto a lit burner set on medium high flame. Toss in the shallots and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon until the shallots are softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  4. Toss in the wine, rubbing vigorously with a wooden spoon to get all the shallots and browned bits off the pan and combining with the liquid. Continue stirring and cooking until the wine is reduced and mostly evaporated.
  5. Add the chicken stock, repeating the vigorous scraping of the good bits. Turn the heat to high, and let the stock bubble, reduce and intensify. For extra browning and flavor, angle a side of the pan to have the liquid roll off so you can brown it some more. Then lay the pan flat, let the liquid flood the browned area, and scrape up the browned bits again. Keep a close eye on the stock so that it doesn’t all evaporate. All this stirring and heating shouldn’t take longer than 2 minutes. Add more stock if necessary.

5 Responses to >Basic Roasted Chicken Recipe with a Twist

  1. >You know, sometimes I think I could benefit in a moisturizing way from a good butter massage! 😉

    Great tips for roasting a bird! 🙂

  2. >Seriously, Jean and Cheryl, you guys hit the nail on the head. Roasting these birds is like aromatherapy for me. First a little sensual butter massage, then some smell sensations, finished with a taste sensation. Who needs a spa when you have a kitchen?

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