Monday, October 11, 2010

Sunday Night Dinner

Oh, friends. Mondays have a way of just coming around again and again, don't they?

I have a very long to do list today. It includes folding the seven (!) loads of laundry that are currently serving as a resting spot for Henry on the guest bed; taking Fletcher, who gets sick every. single. time. we board him, to the vet for a tummy check; packing for Savannah; packing for a hometown wedding extravaganza; and on and on. But, instead of checking things off, I'm writing you a little post. You can thank me after you cook this chicken.

During the week, I am all about light, healthful cooking packed with vegetables and lean protein and fruit and fiber and all of the other things we are supposed to be eating three times per day. And then on Friday and Saturday, we loosen the reins a bit and indulge in homemade pizza or grilled burgers or restaurant dinners.

But Sunday Dinner is a category all its own. It is neither a time for calorie-counting nor a time for complete indulgence. If I could sum it up perfectly, I'd say it's a time for Roast Chicken. I love to cook this meal. Partially because it makes the whole house smell amazing, partially because I feel like a fifties housewife (and have been known to don an apron) whilst making it, and partially because it is Hugh's favorite dinner and I think he loves me a little bit more every time I make it.

Roasting a chicken is said to be a trait by which you can measure yourself as a cook. If that's the case, then I have to say I might just pass the test. This chicken is really, really delicious. And really, really simple.

Now, this is the point where I insert a photo of my gloriously browned, perfectly roasted chicken - the photo that makes you want to jump up and crank your oven to 425°. Except, when this chicken comes out of the oven, it has to rest for twenty minutes. And by that point it has been perfuming the house for an hour and fifteen minutes. So when the timer finally beeps and you holler for your husband to get in here and start carving, you are really ready to eat. So ready that you might stand over your chicken carver's shoulder picking choice pieces off the serving platter and eating them. You might do this so predictably that by now your chicken carver just sets the choice pieces on a plate for you to eat while you wait for the carving to end.

And then, you might be sitting down, eating your chicken and macaroni & cheese (a recipe for another day, friends) and sauteed spinach (so you can feel better about yourself), and you'll think, "Hell's bells! I forgot to take a picture of my perfect chicken for the blog."

Sorry about that. But, this is what the chicken looks like while it's resting under foil (a peek at its perfection, if you will):

Perfect Roast Chicken
adapted from the Barefoot Contessa

  • 1 (4 - 4 1/2 pound) roasting chicken
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Rub the butter on the outside of the chicken and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Spread the onion slices on the bottom of a roasting pan. Place the chicken on top.

Roast the chicken for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted between the breast and the thigh registers 160° and the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and onions to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the onions and pan drippings.



  1. Bailey has lots stomach issues if you need any tips let me know.

  2. Umm. . .I've had this roast chicken, and it is so good that you might need to just eat it with your hands to make sure that you get every single little piece.

    Also, Cassie, get ready for some pimped out pasta with prosciutto and peas a la casa de Felds.