I Made Me a Chicken!

It occurred me to the other day that while I’ve probably made countless chicken recipes over my cooking career, I’ve never actually made a WHOLE chicken at once.  I’ll admit that secretly, I had always been a little intimidated by the whole chicken.  Something about it being broken down into its various parts always made it seem…less likely to attack me.

(Turkeys still terrify me and I have never made one).

I decided that I needed to face my fears and tackle the mighty chicken.  I began scouring the internet and cookbooks for roasted chicken recipes and discovered that there are MANY different techniques, all of which seem to have a solid logical explanation for why that method is the best.

Not knowing which one to go with, I decided I would put my faith in the Barefoot Contessa herself, as she rarely does me wrong.

I used Ina’s “Perfect Roast Chicken” recipe to make a juicy, crispy skinned, flavorful chicken.  In that respect, this recipe was a success and I achieved my goal of conquering the chicken.


Where the recipe truly failed was with the temperature/timing for the roasted vegetables accompanying the chicken.  Per Ina’s instructions, I added the fennel, carrots, onion and thyme to the roasting pan, with the chicken sitting on top.  The whole dish was supposed to cook for 1 1/2 hours, but when I came back to check on it at about 45 minutes, the vegetables had burned!  I discarded them and allowed the chicken to finish for the entire 1 1/2 duration.

I don’t know if the vegetables were supposed to cook for less time or everything was supposed to cook at a lower temp (although I doubt it because the chicken still came out perfectly), but it certainly was off.

I’m not even going to tell you about the vegetable part of this recipe, but you can reference the original recipe if you want to see how she suggested it be done.

As for the chicken, this recipe couldn’t have been simpler.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Remove the chicken giblets (the loose stuff hanging out inside the chicken), rinse the chicken inside and out, and pat the outside very dry with paper towels (this is part of the key to getting crispy skin).  Liberally salt the inside and outside of the chicken with salt and pepper.

Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the lemon quarters, garlic halves, and sprigs of thyme.

eh, my chicken is upside down in this pic…whoops.

Close the little flap around the chicken’s tushy and tie the legs together with kitchen string .  Tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.

Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper.  It may seem like an overdose of salt/pepper, but the homely chicken truly needs it….

Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Cover the chicken with foil and allow to sit for 20 minutes.

Seriously, that’s it….And check out how juicy this bad boy is when it’s all said and done.

Don’t be like me.  There is absolutely NO reason to fear the whole chicken.


  • 1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 large bunch of fresh thyme
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons of butter, melted

Serves 6

Recipe Adapted from Barefoot Contessa’s Perfect Roast Chicken

Tags: , , , ,

Categories: Poultry, Recipes

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One Comment on “I Made Me a Chicken!”

  1. September 9, 2012 at 2:41 am #

    There is no reason the fear the bird. The one without shoes is wrong about the veg. Your guess is right. Pop them in at the half way mark. Lovely looking chicken.

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