I’m not a very talkative person. I think that’s something that readers of this blog might be surprised about. Because I know my posts tend to be long, especially compared to a lot of other food blogs I read. But if you met me at a party, I might not say much, whereas if you give me a keyboard and a textbox to fill, I could probably “talk” for hours on end. That’s one reason I love blogging and the internet so much. I guess I just feel more free to express myself here than I do in “real life”. That’s probably something I need to work on, but that’s not really for this post to address.
The point I’m trying to make is that I’m usually so excited about sharing a recipe and describing why it’s so good and my experience making it etcetera etcetera that I never have trouble coming up with things to say about it. Editing that sentiment down to something more concise is what always trips me up.
But I have no trouble coming up with something concise to say about this chicken because the only thing that springs to mind is: this is the best roast chicken I’ve ever made. Period. What else is there to add? Ok, how about this: I had several other recipes for roast chicken that I used to make, but now I don’t. I make this chicken, pretty much every week and it never fails. It’s just really good, really simple chicken.
Ok, maybe I can elaborate a little more. If you’ve never roasted chicken before, don’t let it intimidate you! It’s one of the easiest dinners ever. There’s hardly any hands-on time and as long as you have an instant read thermometer you know for sure when it’s done cooking. This recipe is slightly more complicated than your average roast chicken because the thyme mixture gets spread under the skin instead of on top. I like this because with a lot of chicken recipes, the skin tastes great, but then you get to the actual chicken and it’s totally bland. Putting the herbs under the skin helps to infuse it with those flavors, so you get very tender, flavorful chicken. You can use whatever herb you like if thyme isn’t your thing (rosemary would be great), but I recommend using fresh herbs to get the best flavor. I finally relented and got a thyme plant of my own because it seemed stupid to have to keep buying all that thyme at the grocery store.
The potatoes roast along with the chicken so you don’t need to do anything special with them. I usually add another easy roast vegetable like broccoli or green beans (in a separate pan since it doesn’t need to roast as long). Sometimes I’ll roast two chickens at a time and save the other one for dinner later in the week, like for chicken tortilla soup or quick gumbo.
Thyme-roasted Chicken with Potatoes
adapted from Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast
Dinner | Servings: 4 servings
Prep time: 20 min | Cook time: 1 hour | Total time: 1 hour 30 min
- 1 1/2 lbs. small red potatoes, halved
- 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 2 tsp. course salt, divided
- 1/2 tsp. pepper, divided
- 2 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 tbsp. dried)
- 1 whole chicken (3 1/2 – 4 lbs.), giblets and livers removed, then rinsed and patted dry
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (F).
- Toss potatoes, 1 tbsp. oil, 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper on a large rimmed baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, combine thyme, 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
- Place the rinsed and dried chicken on a work surface. Starting from the neck end, use your fingertips to gently separate the skin from the flesh of the chicken, including thigh and leg areas.
- Rub/spread the thyme mixture under the skin. Generously season the cavity of the chicken with additional salt and pepper. Tuck the wings under the breasts. Using kitchen twine (or if you’re like me, thread from your sewing kit), tie the legs together securely.
- Transfer chicken to the baking sheet and nestle it in the center of the potatoes, breast side up. Rub with remaining 1/2 tbsp. oil and season with more salt and pepper. In my experience, especially if you are roasting two chickens at once, the pan can get a little too full of juices and almost drown the potatoes. I learned a trick from one of Nigella Lawson’s cookbooks that you can put a piece of sandwich bread underneath the chicken and it will help soak up some of the oil and juices, while still leaving enough for you to baste with.
- Roast, tossing the potatoes occasionally and basting the chicken with pan juices, about an hour or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees (F). Loosely cover the whole baking sheet with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Serving size: 1/4 of the chicken and 1/4 of the potatoes