Roast Chicken and Potatoes with Thyme

July 25, 2012

Hello there!

Making Roast Chicken is like a meditation.  It is simple and pure, requires some attention, and has lasting positive residual effects later that week.  It has a special place in my heart since it was one of the first married meals I ever made, and is still one of my family’s favorites.

I talked about it on earlier blogs , but I recently made one and grabbed some pictures along the way.  It is so easy and so delicious, I hope it inspires you to make one at home soon.

This recipe was helped by the herb garden growing nicely in the back yard.

You start with a 4-5 Roaster Chicken.  You remove the giblets, rinse it, pat it dry, and salt and pepper the interior cavity and outside with about 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper.  When I was first married, I followed Julia Child’s recipe, so much of what I do is from her directions.  I can always hear her voice when next I rub about 2 T. Butter, softened on the skin, since she said/wrote the chicken likes it when you massage the butter into it.

Next, I stuff the cavity with these goodies:


A whole lemon cut in half, a head of garlic cut in half, 20 sprigs of fresh thyme (Julia uses Herb de Provence so if you want to use that, use about 2 Tablespoons), and another Tablespoon of butter for good measure.

I cut up 4 carrots, 3 celery and 1 onion, and made a bed out of the veggies so the chicken doesn’t stick to the pan, and it will help flavor the gravy. (This trio of oinion, carrot and celery is called mirepoix and is a famous aromatic flavor base of French Food).  Also, I use a plain old cook sheet, NOT a roaster pan.  These birds are so small, the sides of the roaster pan slow the cooking way down and doesn’t allow the yummy browning to occur.  The cookie sheet gives all the surfaces of the bird a chance to turn glorious.

Place the bird in the oven, breast side up, and cook for 15 min.  Rotate every 15 min on the back, side, side, breast.

If the veggies start to brown, use a spatula and scoop them off. If the chicken starts to brown too quickly, reduce heat to 375 or you can tent the part with foil.

After one hour, slice the leg of the chicken and see if the juices run red or clear/yellow.  If it is red, cook for 15 more minutes. If yellow/clear, the meat is done. You can also use a meat themometer in the thigh and see if it is 165 degrees (the recommended safe temperature for poultry).

While the chicken was cooking, I also sliced up some potatoes in true French peasant style. 

I tossed the with olive oil, salt, pepper, and 1 T. of chopped thyme. Then I cooked them for 25 min at 425, flipping halfway through cooking. They were unbelievably delicious.

This was a meal fit for company, but in fact it was just me and the kids since my husband was traveling.


My daughter gets very excited when this is for dinner since it is her favorite:

I will use the leftovers for salads for lunch, then make stock out of the carcass.  I will show you how next time.  Happy Eating!

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