Another busy work week is complete and we as a family head to our cottage in the middle of Nowhere, Wisconsin to enjoy some quality time together. Most weekends we decompress and watch movies, enjoy visitors and just veg out. As you can guess, there are always large quantities of food around. I am not proud to say this, but sometimes it comes in the form of prepackaged snacks and quick dinners (I think I just heard you all sigh). This weekend however, I wanted to make something really special for my family, thus Herb Butter Roasted Chicken was born.
Are you one of those people that have never roasted a chicken before? Is your idea of a a roasted chicken dinner going to your local grocery store and buying one of their sodium-laden rotisserie chickens? Don't get me wrong, I do that on occasion. Especially during the week when the kids have to be at some practice or another and you there just doesn't seem to be any time to make supper. How can you beat the convenience of this? However, when you do have the time, nothing enhances the atmosphere of your house like the aroma of a chicken roasting in the oven.
If you have never roasted a whole chicken before, I am sure the task may sound difficult. Everyone has their own way of doing it. Some people will tell you that you have to baste the bird every few minutes to keep it moist. What if I tell you that I found a way that you never have to baste your bird at all? It's called herb butter. What is herb butter you may ask? Great question. Herb butter is just fresh herbs incorporated into softened butter. Sounds too good to be true? By mixing up some of this butter and placing it under the skin of the unbaked chicken, the butter will melt and self baste the bird and the herbs will flavor your chicken. I decided to use sage and rosemary but you can use any fresh herbs of your liking. Once you find a combination that you like, you can use this herb butter for other things. Use your imagination. Instead of garlic bread, you can use the herb butter as a spread and make toasted herb bread. Get the picture?
Now to the great debate.......to stuff or not to stuff? This is your preference. However, you should be warned that if you stuff your chicken, it will take longer for the bird to cook. For me, I like to make my stuffing separately and bake it in the oven with the bird, not in the bird. This way I can get the stuffing to that level of crispiness that I enjoy. I then take advantage of the empty cavity of the chicken. I do "stuff" the cavity of the bird loosely with onion, celery, carrots and more of the fresh herbs I used in the butter (that is now resting under the skin of the chicken). By stuffing the bird with vegetables, you get even more flavor as the chicken cooks.
After this chicken went into the oven, the cottage took on a heavenly scent, the kids started asking when would dinner be ready and Dan promptly poured some wine for us to enjoy as we waited for our meal to be complete. Once it was ready, we sat down as a family and shared this fantastic meal. I will definitely be making this again, and often. -Scott
Herb Butter Roasted Chicken
- 4 lb Whole Roasting Chicken
- 1 Stick Unsalted Butter soften
- 2 Tbs Fresh Rosemary chopped
- 2 Tbs Fresh Sage chopped
- Half of a whole onion
- 2 Stalks celery cut in half
- 2 Whole carrots cut in half peeled
- ¼ cup White wine
- Pinch salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Rinse chicken, including cavity, with water and pat dry with paper toweling.
- In a bowl combine soften butter and half of the fresh herbs. Stir to incorporate.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper in cavity of the chicken.
- Place the onion, 1 stalk of celery and 1 carrot in the remaining herbs in the cavity of the chicken.
- Using your fingers, gently separate the skin from the top of the chicken being careful not to puncture the skin. You want to try and get as much of the skin away from the chicken (see video above).
- Spread the herb butter under the skin on the top of the chicken being careful not to puncture the skin.
- Any remaining butter may be spread on top of the chicken.
- In a roasting pan place the remaining pieces of carrots and celery and pour wine in bottom of pan
- Place the chicken on top of the carrot and celery pieces.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes per pound or until the chicken reaches a temperature of 180 degrees. A good rule of thumb is if the leg of the chicken easily wiggles and comes off of the chicken, and the juices are clear, then it is probably done.