Roasting a whole chicken is something I wish I did more often. More and more it’s hard to even find a whole chicken at the grocery. And when we process our own meat chickens, keeping the whole significantly slows down the butchering process (you have to be much more delicate with the removal of the innards to keep the chest cavity intact). But you get an incredible depth of flavor from roasting the chicken whole. And when you add in the orange and lemon, it’s next level. Citrus Roast Chicken brings the fancy holiday meal to the table any night of the week!
Ok before you say it – YES you can make a whole roasted chicken on a weeknight! And YES you will be eating before 8pm. The simple prep of this chicken makes it easy to get it in the oven quickly and still get dinner on the plate at a decent hour. And the amazing flavor that is developed is going to be so worth it! This recipe is also great for Sunday supper or any meal that you want to make feel just a little more like home. I have a friend that uses this recipe for their Thanksgiving meal because it’s just the two of them and they don’t need a whole turkey.
There is so much flavor in the zest of citrus, I love to cook and bake with it. It works great in sauces, dressings, breads, marinades, salsas….the list goes on and on and on. In this recipe, I add it to the butter to help it melt all over the chicken and really infuse into it. And then double down on the citrus flavor by filling the chicken cavity with oranges and lemons. When you are packing in the wedges, really push it in there so it fills in the whole space.
When I made this I actually decided to do two birds at the same time (it increases the cooking time by about 15 minutes) so that I could have the chicken for another dish later in the week. If you have a pan the right size (I used my turkey roasting pan), you can just put them side by side. It’s okay for them to touch a little, but not too much.
I served this up in full-on comfort food fashion and made some good ol’ mashed potatoes (yukon golds boiled to fork-tender, salt, white pepper, butter and heavy cream), and garlic green beans (trimmed green bean, butter and minced garlic all in a covered pot on medium-low). You could serve this chicken in whole pieces or shred it up and use it in all sorts of things like soups, pastas, on pizza, chicken salad.
Now Let’s Get Cookin’!
Citrus Roast Chicken
- 1 6lb Whole Chicken gizzards removed, if present
- 1 Navel Orange zested and quartered
- 1 Lemon zested and quartered
- ½ cup Butter room temperature (NOT MELTED)
- 5 cloves Garlic minced
- 2 tsp Rosemary
- 2 tsp Tarragon
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Pepper
- Prepare all of the ingredient. Preheat oven to 375deg.
- In a small bowl, combine softened butter, orange zest, lemon zest, rosemary, sage and half of minced garlic.
- Place chicken on rack in baking dish. Stuff orange halves, lemon halves and remaining garlic into cavity.
- Gently separate the skin from the flesh, without removing it. Then push butter under the skin, and press out evenly over the bird. Place any excess butter mixture into the cavity.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over bird. Then loosely cover with aluminum foil. Place in oven for 75 minutes.
- Halfway through cook time, remove foil and baste the bird with drippings as needed for the remainder of cook time. Chicken should be cooked to 165 deg internal temperature. Be sure to let chicken sit for at least 5 minutes before carving.
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Estelle Forrest self-published this cookbook after a lot of playing around in the kitchen. You can purchase your own copy here:
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