This recipe looks simple, but it brings out the best in a roasted chicken. The trick is roasting at the right temperature for the appropriate amount of time, based on the weight of the chicken.
And that's easier said than done because many ovens do not heat evenly. The secret is using a meat thermometer stuck directly into the chicken breast (without touching bone) to accurately gauge when the chicken is fully cooked. Our recipe below gives you all the details. But don’t stop there: we offer this recipe as the start of some fabulous leftover dishes such as Chicken Fajitas
, Chicken Pizza
or Lemony Chicken & Rice Soup.
step 1Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
step 2Remove the interior organs of the chicken (usually placed inside the neck and/or body cavity). Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry with a paper towel. Place the chicken on a roasting rack in the center of a roasting pan. Generously sprinkle salt and pepper on the inside. Brush or rub butter on the outside. Place the parsley stems, onion and garlic inside the chicken cavity.
step 3If you have a meat thermometer, insert it into the thickest part of the breast. It should not touch bone. Place in the oven. Allow 20 minutes per pound of chicken. Baste or brush every 30 minutes with remaining butter and any pan juices. The wings and breast may need to be covered with foil if they begin to brown too much.
step 4*Allowing 20 minutes per pound of chicken, a 4-pound chicken should take about 1 hour and 20 minutes to cook; 5-pound chicken should take about 20 minutes more. However, start checking the 4-pounder after 1 hour (the 5-pounder at 1 hour and 10 minutes) to see if it is done. The chicken breast temperature should read 180 degrees F. (If you don’t have a thermometer, you will know that the chicken is fully cooked when you nick it with a knife in the thickest part of the thigh and the juices run clear.) Following roasting, let the chicken sit for 20 minutes, tented with foil, outside the oven to reabsorb its juices before carving.