Food is kinda important to us here at OhSo. Like I kinda plan most things around food, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. My husband calls it expensive, and I like to call it an investment in our future health…and my current happiness. Happy wife happy life? Last year my little family got the opportunity to live with my aunt and uncle in Virgina, just outside of DC. It was fall and it was beautiful! We loved it out there! My obsession with food lends itself to food being an integral part of my emotions associated with memories. I got to cook a lot while I was out there, and this meal is tied to the cool, crisp fall, the bright orange and yellow leaves, and one particular meal with my aunt, uncle, and cousin. I’ve made it several times since, getting it just right, and I have to say that to me, it just screams comfort food.
The first time I roasted a chicken when we were first married, Martha Stewart told me that I had to baste it every 20 minutes for 2 hours while it cooked. So I sat home, set a timer on the microwave to go off every 20 minutes, and sat there mindlessly squeezing my turkey baster like a little robot every 20 minutes for 2 hours. I remember telling my new husband the chicken was OK, but totally not worth it. Well friends, I figured out on my own that all of that work was totally unnecessary. No basting required. As long as you don’t mind getting your hands dirty and all up in a raw chicken (I prefer giblets removed so I don’t have to mess with that, er, mess), this is seriously simple and definitely impressive. Bone-in meat tends to be juicier and more flavorful, not to mention your house will smell like a turkey slow-roasting all day on Thanksgiving without the chaos. Absolutely heaven.
So if you buy a whole chicken with the giblets (insides) removed, you don’t have to worry about removing them. Obvi. The skin comes mostly attached to the meat, so you have to slide your hand in there and forcefully separate it. Voila! Then prep your marinade. Basically a bunch of butter, garlic, lemon, salt, pepper, and fresh sage.
Combine all of those and rub it directly onto the meat everywhere (in-between the meat and the skin) and on top of the skin. I prefer to not eat the skin most of the time, but when you’re making it yourself, you have to indulge a little in that crispy, salty bit of heaven. Just a bite or two is all you need. I won’t tell.
I’ve tried the crock pot method, and I prefer the oven. You get the beautiful, awesome browning and crisping of the skin in the oven that is lacking in the crock pot. It’s certainly tasty in the crock pot, and you can totally do it that way, but don’t expect said crisping. Phew. OK. Moving on.
That first slice into the chicken, watching those clear juices run and the chicken gently fall over onto the plate….it’s magic I tell ya.
I can’t decide if I like the bright and juicy herb chicken or the pan lemon pepper gravy with creamy mashed potatoes more. It’s a tough call. So you gotta do both by sliding a piece of chicken over into the potatoes dripping with the lemon sauce. Right? Isn’t that how everyone eats chicken and mashed potatoes?
- 1 small whole chicken giblets removed
- 3 lemons rinsed and dried
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- handful sage leaves chiffonade
- 4 T butter very soft
- 2 t salt
- 1 t pepper
- 2 T cornstarch
- 2 T water
- sage leaves chiffonade
Prepare chicken by ensuring insides are removed. If not, remove them and discard. Rinse and pat dry chicken with paper towels. Separate skin from chicken meat by sliding your hand between layers to separate.
Squeeze 2 of the 3 lemons into small bowl, reserving peels. Add garlic, sage leaves, butter, salt, and pepper.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Use your hands to spread lemon butter between the skin and meat layers all throughout the chicken as well as over the top of the skin. Sprinkle with extra salt and pepper all over. Place lemon peels inside chicken cavity. Tie legs together with twine.
Place chicken breast side up on 3 large balls of foil to prevent bottom of chicken from resting on roasting pan. Pour 1/2 c water into bottom of pan.
Roast chicken about 1 hour and 15 minutes, turning over halfway with tongs. Skin should be golden brown and crispy. Remove from oven and let rest 20 minutes before cutting.
To make sauce, heat pan drippings in saucepan over low/medium heat to a simmer. Make a slurry of cornstarch and cold water by whisking together. Slowly whisk the cornstarch slurry into the pan drippings. Squeeze juice from remaining lemon into sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Add sage leaves. Serve over mashed potatoes.