Perfect Roast Chicken

This recipe is from Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. It’s been a family staple since the day I brought the book home from Costco, almost 20 years ago (wow, time flies).

  • 1 5 to 6 pound roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise (cut goes through each clove)
  • ½ stick butter (her recipe calls for 2 T, which is ¼ stick; you can use the extra to base the chicken ½ way through)
  • 2 Vidalia onions, sliced like onion rings (her recipe calls for 1 Spanish onion. the onions reduce down so they don’t end up being too much)
  • 1 cup chicken stock (I use Better Than Bouillon, Roasted Chicken and I make 2 cups)
  • 2 T all-purpose flour
  • 6-8 carrots, sliced diagonally about ½ slices
  • [optional] ~8 small new and/or red potatoes (I leave these out to reduce carbs)
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  • Remove chicken giblets and rinse chicken inside and out
  • Remove excess fat and pinfeathers and pat the outside dry
  • Place chicken in a deep roasting pan (no rack needed); I use the same one that I use for my Holiday turkey
  • Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken
  • Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic – I start by squeezing the juice of one lemon half into chicken cavity and then stuff the lemon down into the neck opening. I then add one half of the garlic, then the whole bunch of thyme, then remaining garlic. I finish by squeezing the juice of remaining lemon and then stuffing it in.
  • Tie the chicken closed (I use 2 pins from a Turkey Lacer kit to close the bird up. I keep washing and reusing until they become too bent or start to rust)
  • Brush the outside of the chicken with butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper
  • Place chicken breast side down – you want all the juices to seep into the breast meat
  • Scatter the onion slices, carrot and potatoes (if using them) around the chicken. I sometimes will lift the chicken up and spread the veggies out under the chicken.
  • Roast chicken for 1½ hours at 425 degrees.
  • Prepare 2 cups chicken stock
  • About an hour into the cooking, pour some of the chicken stock over the veggies and toss
  • When done, remove chicken to a platter for carving/serving
  • Scoop veggies out into another serving dish
  • Pour most of the juices in the roasting pan into the sauce pan with the chicken sauce, keep some to pour on the veggies directly.
  • Bring chicken sauce back to a boil and reduce heat.
  • Add the flour gradually to the gravy, whisking between adds to break up the flour clumps. You may not want to add all 2 TBL of flour; it depends on how thick you want your gravy to be. It thickens as it cools so don’t judge the thickness while you’re adding flour. If you like thick, add all. If you don’t like thick, start with just adding 1 TBL
Recommended products
The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook is the first Ina Garten cookbook that I ever purchased. For other recipes that I make from this book, see my Cookbook Favs.
If you own a roasting pan for doing your Holiday turkey, use that. Otherwise this one on Amazon looks pretty good to me and has good reviews. I like how deep it is, since I like to add extra veggies.
Turkey Lacers for closing up the chicken and keeping all the good stuff in!

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