Simple Roast Chicken

You know what? I just realized that all this time I’ve been so busy ranting about marshmallow fluff and saying goodbye to summer and neglecting to post recipes, I haven’t told you a thing about level 4 at school. Not one thing! I haven’t told you about the amazing smorgasbord of a buffet my classmates and I put on for the other students, featuring a whole suckling pig, numerous dishes involving fresh figs, and banana split cupcakes.

You didn’t hear about the week I spent at the “family meal” station, frantically cooking lunch for 300 people a day and trying not to pass out. You didn’t even hear about the days I spent at the “production” station, butchering everything from whole striped bass and halibut to pork racks and beef shoulder and rabbit. And, of course, my fingers.

…Yeah. Apparently, production is where fingers go to die. Or, at least, to be slightly mangled.

Anyway, it’s really a shame you didn’t hear about any of that. And wouldn’t you know it? Level 4 ended yesterday, so I guess you’re out of luck. Sigh. It would have been fun to tell you about how awful it was to prepare the salad for family meal, chopping and washing and drying 80 (!) pounds (!) of lettuce that no one ate anyway, or how I’ve grown enormous biceps (total lie) from lifting huge vats of chicken stock in production, or about the day that I learned that one guy in my class had never heard of matzoh balls. Never heard of matzoh balls?! Oy.

Don’t those things sound like fun things to hear about? Too bad. I’m definitely not going to tell you about how Tina, Nadine and Rodney named their British-themed buffet (bangers n’ mash! fish n’ chips! sticky toffee pudding!) “King Hungry VIII,”

or how the stainless steel bowl we used to make coleslaw in family meal was roughly the size of a small swimming pool. Yeah, I think I’ll keep that to myself. I mean, maybe someday I’ll tell you about how I learned to clean and fillet fresh sardines (tiniest. bones. worst. smell.), or the lesson we got on how to make and cure our own salami, but for now, you’re just going to have to wait.

Sorry. Here, have some chicken.

Simple Roast Chicken
Adapted from Ina Garten

I think it’s important for everyone to have a solid recipe for roast chicken. It’s a fairly simple and easy dish, but when it comes out of the oven, looking gorgeous with its crispy golden skin and wafting deliciousness to the heavens, your guests will think you’re a regular Julia Child. With fall’s chill in the air and a side of cous cous and roasted veggies, it doesn’t get much better than this. It’s also delicious eaten cold for lunch, stuffed into a sandwich or shredded into your favorite recipe for chicken salad. The possibilities are endless, so what are you waiting for? Get roasting, Julia.


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 piece butcher’s twine or string

For pan jus:

  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • salt
  • pepper


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Thickly slice the onions and arrange them on the bottom of a roasting pan. Remove the little goody bag inside the chicken containing the giblets, liver, neck and heart, and discard or use to make chicken stock. After trimming the chicken of any excess fat, rinse the chicken inside and out, and pat it dry with paper towels. Liberally salt and pepper the chicken, both inside and out. Stuff the cavity with the lemon halves, thyme, garlic, and bay leaf. Rub the outside of the chicken with butter, and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on the bed of onions in the roasting pan. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wings under the body of the chicken.

Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until a thermometer inserted in the thigh reads at least 145 degrees and the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh.

Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil. Carefully, place the roasting pan with the onions on the stovetop over medium high heat. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen the flavorful brown bits. Once the wine has reduced by half, add the chicken stock, and simmer for about 5 minutes, until slightly reduced. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Slice the chicken and serve immediately with the onions and pan jus.

Makes 1 whole roast chicken.

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2 Responses to Simple Roast Chicken

  1. Casels says:

    i need a banana split cupcake immediately if not sooner

  2. Jane says:

    nope, i'm craving the chicken! going to make it "a la chef molly" this week! xoxox

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