Everyone needs a go-to dish. It may not be unique, but this is my go-to. There’s nothing better or more comforting than roast chicken. Make it organic and use fresh herbs and you have a perfect, healthy meal that can heal all that ails you. We’ve all heard that chicken soup is good for a cold. Roast chicken works the same way. This dish has the added benefits of lemons, which work well at fighting phlegm and clearing the lungs. Sage is good for sore throats, thyme increases circulation, and parsley is a natural diuretic — all good during cold and flu season!
What makes this roast chicken perfect? Crispy skin and moist and flavorful meat. And the aroma in the house is unbelievable.
Perfect Roast Chicken
1 whole organic chicken
kosher or sea salt and black pepper
1 bunch fresh thyme
1/2 bunch fresh parsley
10 fresh sage leaves
extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, or 400 degrees convection. I like to use a convection setting for this, so if you have a convection oven, now’s the time to use it.
Rinse the chicken inside and out with water. Pat dry, inside and out.
Season the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Cut one lemon in half and place one half inside the chicken. Split the bunch of thyme in half, and stuff half the thyme inside the bird.
Slice the remaining lemon half and the whole lemon into thin slices. Pick the remaining thyme leaves off the branches and set aside. Chop the parsley and sage leaves and mix these with the thyme leaves.
Gently slide two fingers under the breast skin, separating the skin from the meat. Push your fingers as far as you can under the skin,creating as large a pocket as possible. Slide your fingers from under the breast skin over to the thighs, separating that skin from the meat as well.
Spread your herb mixture under the skin all over.
Rub the outside of the chicken with oil.
Generously season the outside of the chicken with salt (use kosher or sea salt) and pepper.
Arrange the lemon slices on the bottom of the center of a roasting pan. My favorite pan to use is a stone or a clay pan. These pans seem to crisp up the bird a little more than a metal or ceramic pan. Make sure your pan doesn’t have high sides; you want the chicken to roast, not steam. Place the chicken on top of the lemon slices.
Put the chicken in the hot oven and cook until a meat thermometer inserted in the upper thigh registers 170 degrees. This could take about 35 to 45 minutes in a convection oven, or 50 to 60 minutes in a regular oven. Ovens vary greatly, so make sure you use a thermometer.
When the chicken is crisp and beautifully golden on the outside, and 170 degrees on the inside, remove it from the oven and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before you carve it. This resting period will allow for the bird to retain its juices when you cut it.