When it comes to a good old-fashioned garlic roast chicken, there really is no other option other than making it rustic. That is quit simply allowing the chicken to do the work with very little intervention. The chicken’s natural fat acts as a baster while the cavity is perfect for aromatics. Nudging whole cloves of garlic under the bird is nothing short of genius. The end result is an all-natural delectable garlic spread, perfect for slathering onto every delicious bite.
About chicken safety: It’s no secret that raw chicken can potentially carry bacteria like salmonella, which can give you food poisoning. Once the chicken is fully cooked, any bacteria are killed. It’s important to use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. But, an easy and reliable option is to buy your chicken with a pop-up timer. Celebrity and professional chefs alike may roll their eyes, but it’s a hassle free nearly fool proof option. This is especially helpful for us home cooks trying to get dinner on the table.
Secret ingredient: Whole, unpeeled garlic is the star of this recipe. The garlic does double duty by flavoring the chicken as it cooks while the chicken returns the favor by flavoring the garlic. The garlic is strategically placed directly under the chicken allowing the fat to braise the whole cloves to a soft and buttery flavor. The garlic skin still on the clove acts as a buffer from the heat so the garlic never burns.
One dish wonder-ful: It would be a shame not to take advantage of the opportunity to make your rustic chicken into a one-dish dinner. It’s not necessary to stick with the traditional carrots and potatoes either (although you can’t go wrong). Cut up almost any veggie (onions, mushrooms, broccoli, squash) or potato (new, sweet, fingerling, Russet).
- 1 whole organic chicken (4-5 lbs.)
- 1 large head of garlic, broken apart but unpeeled
- 2 lemons, 1 halved, 1 thinly sliced
- 1 bunch fresh thyme sprigs
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Cover a roasting pan with non-stick aluminum foil (for easy clean up) and scatter garlic cloves in their skins on the bottom.
- Remove neck and giblets from chicken, rinse inside and out with cold water and pat dry.
- Place chicken breast side up directly on top of garlic (no need to truss this chicken, its rustic!). Place halved lemon and the thyme sprigs inside the cavity. Rub chicken with butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place lemon slices on top.
- Roast chicken 15 minutes per pound. The chicken is done when a thermometer placed in the thigh registers 165 F. Note: The chicken will continue to cook when it’s out of the oven with the temp going up to 170 F. Then, the chicken is fully cooked.
- Let the chicken rest 15 minutes before carving. Toss lemon slices. Pop garlic out of skin and serve with chicken.