My go-to Roasted Chicken Recipe

I make a roasted chicken 2-3 times a month.  There is not much easier or tastier than a great roasted chicken.  Especially if you add in some extra hindquarters for extra dark meat. mmmm…. I am so glad we know dark meat is good for us now!  I always get whole chickens for roasting from the amazing farm we use, but I also get lots of hindquarters – kids eat them better, and really, adults eat them better, too. 

I am drooling thinking of that dark meat dripping in roasting juices…

Okay, back to the point of this.  

I pretty much always use the same approach to making a roasted chicken.  Why?  Because it’s easy, I’m busy around the house, and I just about jump up and down and yell out of excitement when making the main part of a meal is this easy and fool proof.  I know there are countless ways to roast a chicken, but this is what I do, and my boys and my love always eat this really well.  In fact, I pretty much am always stealing meat before dinner…

I also highly recommend doing this to provide food for a weekend, or on a Sunday so you don’t have to do as much food prep work as normal.  Cook as much as you can at once – if you have a crock pot or roasting dish with lid large enough for more than just 1 chicken, do as much as will fit!  Save it for another meal – leftovers or freeze the meat swimming in all the amazing juices.  You’ll be so excited to simply pull it out for a meal.

Okay, back to the point of this…again…

This is not an exact recipe, because really, if I don’t have to measure anything out, I’m not going to.  I’ve never measured, and I’ve always had it turn out so super yummy.  Isn’t that the best?  Oh, and the instructions on this might seem long, but it is just because I am sharing how I do things.  I appreciate when others share the process so I can learn from them, so I am just doing that. 🙂

This really is simple and easy, and it is a GREAT and easy step to take towards eating more whole foods if you are working on that transition.  I know making the transition from boneless, skinless chicken breasts was a little unnerving for me – making a whole roasted chicken is easy and you don’t have to handle the chicken much :-).  

Roasted Chicken {Recipe – GAPS, Paleo}
Ingredients: 

  • Whole Chicken and/or cut up parts/hindquarters
  • Montreal Steak Seasoning (make your own! Recipe below)
  • Poultry Seasoning
  • Good Salt – Celtic, Himalayan – and Pepper
  • Butter or Ghee, or an alternative fat if you can’t use ghee or butter yet – like lard
  • Any Vegetables you want to add – onions, carrots, etc – roughly chopped

Process:

  • Prepare your chicken as needed (rinse, clean out insides).  (ours is just the chicken – nothing inside to clean out, so I simply thaw mine – often in a clean sink with warm water because I don’t think ahead enough to thaw a whole chicken ahead of time and our fridge is usually so full I don’t have room to thaw it in the fridge)
  • Put your chicken/cut up chicken/hindquarters in a crock pot or dutch oven or larger roasting pan. (I have a cast iron turkey roaster – like a dutch oven but giant and oval shaped, so I can fit 2 chickens in or a chicken and about 4 hindquarters.  But I often just do 1 chicken in my crock pot or dutch oven.)  I always do mine breast up, but I know many people like to do chickens breast down to let the white meat cook in all the liquid.  See, you can do whatever you want.  
  • Put some slices of butter (or other fat/oil) all over your chicken.  I don’t even bother to melt the butter.  I just kind of evenly space out butter on each piece of chicken and a few pieces on the top of the whole chicken.  I use about 2-3 tbsp of butter on a whole chicken on average, and I probably put about 1/2 tbsp on each hindquarter.  In the picture below, you can see the pieces of butter just randomly placed :-).  You can totally use less – butter can be expensive, so I often vary my amounts based on how much I have in my fridge at the time.  
  • Now go to town sprinkling the montreal seasoning, poultry seasoning, pepper, and much salt all over the chicken.  Don’t be shy.   Seriously.  Go for it.  I would estimate that I use about 1-2 Tbsp of montreal seasoning and 1/2-1 Tbsp poultry seasoning, depending on the amount of chicken I am making.  And then lots of salt.  Probably 1-2 Tbsp.  But again, I’ve never measured.  I just sprinkle it heavily all over.  A lot of help I am if you like to follow exact instructions, huh?  🙂
  • Cook in your crock pot all day on low or covered in oven at 225*-250* until the meat is falling off the leg bones.  You will know it’s amazingly wonderful if you try and pick up the leg or thigh piece with tongs or a couple forks and it falls apart or pulls off the rest of the chicken incredibly easy.  I usually cook it for about 6-7 hours in the crock pot on low or 4-5 hours in the oven.  Really, it ends up just being whenever I can get it going at some point in the morning before lunchtime, and I just check on it late in the afternoon to see when it’s done.  I never use a meat thermometer – when the meat is separating from the leg bones at the end, it should be nice and done.  
  • Every couple of hours (or at least once about halfway through cooking), baste the chicken with the juices at the bottom.  I usually only remember/take the time to do this once to try and cover all the chicken with the juices and run much of the spices/herbs down into the juices since pouring the juices over the chicken on our plates is our favorite part.  Wow, that was a long run-on sentence.
  • If using vegetables: if you will be gone and are doing it in the crock pot, just add veggies at the beginning around or under the chicken.  If you will be home, you can add veggies a couple hours before it is done if you want.  I prefer to add the veggies at the beginning so I don’t have to do anything else :-). 
  • Optional: If you are cooking it in the oven, take the lid off and turn your oven up to 350* or 375*, keeping a close eye on it.  Keep it cooking in there until the skin gets golden and crispy to your liking.  This will also cook the juices down some.  
  • Serve either right off the chicken or, if you have time before dinner, take all the meat off the bones, put in a dish, then pour the juices from the crock pot or dutch oven/roaster over all the meat (strain as you pour).  If I don’t have time to take all the meat off before dinner, we just eat it off the bone at the table and use a small ladle or spoon to ladle juices from the pot over our meat on our plates.  Or, if it would make it fun for your kids, put juices in a small bowl or cup and let them dip their meat in it.  
  • Salt is the key to great taste – so don’t be afraid to add more salt if you feel it needs more when tasting the juices!   

Montreal Steak Seasoning {Recipe} (um…that I always use on roasted chicken…)

Ingredients: 

  • 4 Tbsp Celtic or Himalayan or Real Salt
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp dried rosemary
  • 2 tsp fennel seed (1/2 Tbsp if you like less fennel)
  • Optional: 1/2 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes (um, we never use because we can’t handle spice and neither can our 3 year old)

Combine all ingredients in a jar (I use a leftover glass tomato paste jar) and shake (you can also blend them together in a blender if you have one that will grind it up to a finer consistency). 

Enjoy! This is part of Real Food Wednesday and Traditional Tuesday at cooking traditional foods and whole new mom and Fight Back Friday.

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