I love roasting whole chickens. They are kind of like a blank palette. By just putting your favorite flavors together and following some basics, it becomes almost fool proof. I like to try new things all of the time, but this is pretty much my basic standard roasted chicken. It’s herby and flavorful, but not overpoweringly so.
If you are not familiar with Herbs de Provence, you should give it a try. Herbs de Provence was first combined in the seventies. It was a mixture of herbs usually found in the Provence region of France. There is no standard recipe for Herbs de Provence. There are many variations as there are with curries. The mix can include any or none of the following: thyme, basil, savory, fennel, rosemary, oregano, marjoram or tarragon…and sometimes lavender. If you shop around and read ingredients, you’ll find no two bottles include the same variations. I always look for the ones that include lavender. Lavender may be the ingredient that drew me in the first time I ever opened a jar and smelled it. The funny thing is, the original mixture did not include the lavender. Lavender was added later to mixtures sold in the US. It appealed to our image of the fragrant fields of lavender in Provence. My personal favorite blend is this one from Williams-Sonoma.
Roasted Herbs de Provence Chicken
1 whole roaster chicken, 5 to 7 pounds, giblets removed, rinsed and dried well
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon onion, finely minced
1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning (optional)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Place the dried chicken in a large roasting pan.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Gently slide a spoon between the breast meat and the skin to separate the two. Do this on each side. Then using about 1 or 2 teaspoons per side, put some of the mixture under the breast skin and rub it around (this is totally optional). Use the remaining mixture to rub all over the rest of the bird. Also optional, you can tuck the wings under the bird so that the tips don’t burn and tie up the legs with some kitchen twine to cook more evenly (trust me…it’ll be just as wonderful if you skip that step)!
Put the chicken in the oven and reduce the temperature to 375 degrees. Cook about 20 minutes per pound. For a 6 to 6.5 pound chicken, roast for about 2 hours. To test doneness, I’m terrible about using a meat thermometer. I just grab the end of the leg, wiggle it a bit and if it wiggles…it’s done. That’s how technically savy I am!
When the chicken is done, remove it from the oven and allow it to sit for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Trust me…waiting even a bit longer is better. The chicken will be moist and it will be so much easier to carve.
- So, carving? I’m no expert, but I do think there is a really great way to carve the breast. I like to remove the whole breast by cutting down along the body, then slicing the whole breast in slices on the cutting board. It looks much nicer that way.
- Use the pan drippings to make an awesome gravy and serve with mashed potatoes and your favorite veggies!
- If you like your chicken with a crispy skin, this recipe will make you happy! Starting off with a dry chicken and that high heat of the oven will ensure crispiness!
- The poultry seasoning is optional in this. I sometimes add it…or not. It adds a little more of an earthy-herby flavor.
- Go ahead and toss some bay leaf, lemon peel or onion into the cavity if you like. It all adds a bit of flavor. Just don’t stuff it too much, that will change your cooking time.