Roast Chicken – Julia Child
Julia Child’s roast chicken recipe; whole chicken stuffed with lemons and onions, cook on a bed of vegetables, creating a perfect one dish meal.
Before this past year, I’d never roast a chicken in my life. Yes, I’d cooked a few turkeys but never a whole chicken. Everyone seemed to rave about how easy and tasty they were. I gave it a shot one night hoping to turn it into a post, only for the skies to open up. A dark and nasty rain storm hit leaving me with no chance to take any decent pictures. It was a delicious dinner… and a warm one. So, I guess that’s the bonus.
Why I love roasting chickens: It’s easy! Stuff that baby with some good aromatics, make a bed of various vegetables and you have yourself a one dish dinner in just over an hour. Slightly time consuming, yes BUT it’s easy and you can kick back and give yourself a pedicure while your chicken cooks away.
Another reason – it’s a great lesson for kids. We eat a lot of chicken but usually it’s just chicken breast. This way they get to see chicken in it’s whole (albeit non living) form.
Let’s not forget the biggest reason of all. It tastes really good. Full of flavorful tender and juicy meat with an amazingly crisp skin, perfect for snacking on while you set the table. It’s a must. Don’t shy away from that golden skin.
Week 8 of the JC100 called for roasting a chicken. Yay! Now, I’ve already shared a roast chicken recipe but there’s always room for more. Julia keeps it simple, stuffing her chicken with slices of lemons, onions and celery leaves. A rub of butter and a sprinkling of salt and pepper give the final touch. All of these I did, but couldn’t resist adding some smashed garlic to the cavity as well. Garlic and chicken are like peanut butter and jelly, they are meant for each other. The one step I skipped was basting my bird because I opted to create a bed of potatoes from the start. This meant I wouldn’t have access to the juices. I like to avoid opening the oven when possible during the cooking process to keep the temperature consistent, in addition to cutting back on the times I need to guard the oven from children… or the other way around.
If you’ve never roasted a chicken, I highly recommend it. It has so many possibilities for dishes. Eat it as is, juicy and straight off the bone. Use the tender meat in fresh homemade soup , chicken pie, or even fun little appetizers and various dishes requiring shredded chicken! It’s a must!
Yield: Serves 5-6 depending on the size of your chicken.
1 roasting chicken 3 1/2 - 4 1/2lbs
1 lemon, cut into slices
1/2 onion, cut into sections
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1-2 tbsp butter, softened
Plus additional vegetables for the pan (potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, etc as desired)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Clean chicken well, inside and out, discarding or reserving the extras for another use. Pat dry with paper towels.
Sprinkle the cavity well with salt and pepper. Fill with lemon slices, onions, garlic and celery leaves. Tie legs together with kitchen twine.
Arrange various vegetables around the chicken, for roasting as a side dish. I used 3-4 potatoes chopped up into bite sized pieces. Season with spices as desired.
Generously rub softened butter over the entire exterior of your chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
If you have a leave in meat thermometer, now is when you should insert it. I prefer to insert mine into the white meat vs dark. Just be sure to insert it in the thickest section and away from any bones as that will alter the temperature. You want the temperature to reach at least 170, but I like to shoot for 180 to ensure the entire bird is cooked.
Roast at 425 for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 and cook for an additional 45-60 minutes or until temperature registers 170 or higher.
Allow chicken to rest for at least 10 minutes prior to slicing into. Enjoy!
Recipe source: Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child