Roast chicken is one of those dishes that intimidates novice chefs but is actually easy to cook. Beyond a small list of ingredients, you just need basic kitchen tools like a chef’s knife, roasting pan and oven.
Though not mandatory, we recommend using an instant-read thermometer for more precise results. The last thing any cook wants is an undercooked chicken.
Why We Love Cooking Simple Roast Chicken
We missed certain food favorites while we were nomadic – especially American hamburgers and Mexican tacos. However, we could always find ingredients to roast a chicken since people eat chicken pretty much everywhere in the world.
Having a decent kitchen with an oven was not always the case during those nomadic days. Since this is no longer an issue now that we have a permanent home base in Lisbon, we can cook whatever we want. Sometimes we want to roast a chicken.
When we’re not traveling, we like to roast a chicken every week or two. It’s an easy and cheap dinner option that fills our apartment with happy smells and our bellies with wholesome food.
If you’ve followed a recipe for roasted chicken before then you know that roasting a chicken makes the entire house smell good. For us, the aromas bring back childhood memories of our mothers roasting chickens for Friday night family dinners and holiday meals.
Since we’re just two people and can’t eat a whole roast chicken in one meal, we often enjoy leftovers the next day or repurpose the meat into a different dish.
One of our favorites is to shred the chicken and saute it with sliced red bell peppers and onions. We enjoy this dish in a Mexican-style dinner with fresh tortillas, avocados, cilantro, salsa and homemade Mexican crema.
Freeze the chicken carcass for chicken stock if you have room in your freezer.
Ingredients for Roasting Chicken in the Oven
Beyond a whole chicken, our simple roasted chicken recipe includes items that you probably have in your fridge and pantry – rosemary, butter, garlic, black pepper and salt. You can also add root vegetables like potatoes and carrots to the roasting pan. Some chefs go even further.
At the bistro NoMad, world-class chef Daniel Humm served his birds stuffed with a melange of beautiful fresh flowery vegetation like lavender and sage. Humm’s recipe involves stuffing the skin with brioche and foie-gras but you certainly do not need to go that far and probably won’t.
Marcella Hazan stuffed her bird with lemons and the result is wonderful. As for us, we like to simply stuff our chicken with whole cloves of garlic and a variety of fresh herbs.
Roast chicken is a dish that celebrates simplicity and rewards creativity. In our recipe, you can replace the rosemary with tarragon, parsley or your favorite herb. You can also use olive oil instead of butter. However, we don’t recommend replacing the garlic cloves since roasted garlic is one of the greatest joys of home cooking.
How to Make Simple Roast Chicken
With some advance planning, roasting a chicken is easy to do. We like to buy whole chickens at our favorite local butcher since they source their birds locally. But you can buy a decent bird at any local market.
This chicken, a robust, slightly older bird, was a challenge to carve since it was difficult to separate the leg and thigh joints from the body. You generally won’t have that problem with an American chicken.
Our roast chicken recipe is easy. It requires a minimal amount of active cooking time and no special equipment.
And the best part? This recipe gets easier every time you make it. You’ll discover new ways to make a pan sauce. We like adding wine and butter to ours.
Simple Roast Chicken Recipe
Daryl created this simple roast chicken recipe based on years of cooking. Not only is it easy to follow, but it’s also inexpensive. In fact, the entire recipe cost us less than € 8 (around $9 US) to cook in our Lisbon apartment.
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About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.