This is my father’s favorite recipe for roasting a whole chicken. Adapted from a recipe by Jamie Oliver.
- One 5 lb. chicken
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 small handfuls of fresh herbs (basil, parsley, thyme, marjoram or oregano), finely chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 lemon, halved
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 Preheat oven and a roasting pan to 400°F. Rinse the chicken and chicken cavity with water and pat dry with paper towels.
2 Rub salt over the inside of the cavity. Grasp the skin at the tip of the chicken breast and gently pull up. Use your fingers to gently separate the skin from the breast meat, taking care not to tear the skin. Sprinkle a little salt into the gaps and insert as much of the chopped herb mixture as you can. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Stuff the cavity with the lemon, bay leaves, rosemary, and any remaining herbs. Pull the skin of the chicken breast over the breast so that none of the meat is exposed. Tuck in the wings and truss with kitchen string.
3 Rub some olive oil over the chicken and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Carefully remove the hot roasting pan from the oven and add a little oil to the bottom of the pan. Place the chicken on one side, breast side down, on the roasting pan and put it back in the oven. Cook for 5 minutes, then turn the chicken so that the other breast is on the pan and cook for another 5 minutes. Starting off by cooking the chicken this way will help brown the breasts. Then turn the chicken over so that it is back-side down. Cook for 1 hour, or until the juices run clear (not pink) when a knife tip is inserted into both the chicken breast and thigh, about 165-170°F for the breast and 175-180°F for the thigh.