I had a conversation with my Mom not too long ago about Sunday dinners at our house and the fact that I don't ever remember her roasting a chicken. Roasting a chicken is one of the simplest recipes that you can execute, so I was confused as to why we never did this at our house.
Brad: "Mom, did you ever roast a chicken for dinner when I was a kid? I don't remember you doing that."
Mom: "That just wasn't my thing but your great Aunt Jeanette liked to roast chicken."
Brad: "Yes I do remember her doing that when we went to visit."
Mom: "She always did a real simple preparation. First, she would cut two or three fresh chickens into pieces. Then she would dredge the pieces in flour that was seasoned with salt and pepper, put the pieces into a large pan and roast them in the oven."
Brad: "Aunt Jeanette wasn't much for fancy preparations but I do remember that the chicken she made was really tasty."
Everyone should have a roasted chicken recipe in their repertoire. I usually make this recipe when we're working around the house on Sundays. We'll have a project or two going and don't have the time to devote to a fancy dinner. So, I'll just pick up a fresh chicken for dinner that night. This recipe does not require a lot of time so you can prep the chicken put it in the oven and go back to your projects while the chicken is roasting away.
I strongly recommend that you try to find a fresh whole chicken. I've used frozen whole chickens and the recipe came out just fine yet I prefer fresh chickens. I look for chickens that are between 3 to 4 pounds, the skin should have a pale pink hue, and not too much fat under the skin.
I always cut-up the ingredients for stuffing the chicken ahead of time. My stuffing is basically one lemon quartered, bay leaves and fresh rosemary or thyme. Also, don't completely stuff the chicken because you want air to flow through as it roasts.
Be sure to save the neck and bones for chicken stock, there's nothing like your own homemade chicken stock as you get to flavor it just the way you want. Here's my chicken stock recipe
So let's get started... ..
1 fresh chicken apx. 3-4 pounds
1 lemon quartered
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary or thyme
2 or 3 bay leaves
Celery salt for sprinkling
Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
Remove any parts from the body cavity that maybe inside the chicken. If your butcher has given you the neck, put this in the freezer and save it for making chicken stock. Under cold water, rinse the chicken thoroughly inside and out, clean out the body cavity, and if you see any large fat deposits under the skin remove these as well. Pat the chicken dry with some paper towels.
Pour 1 tablespoon of celery salt into your hand and rub the celery salt all over the body cavity, making sure the body cavity is well seasoned. Holding the chicken by one leg, begin to sprinkle celery salt on the breast of the chicken. Slowly turn the chicken while sprinkling celery salt and ensure that all of the chicken is covered with celery salt. Just a good dusting is all that is needed. Place the coated chicken onto a roasting rack that is inside a roasting pan.
Place two quarters of the lemon inside the body cavity and push them to the front. Insert one spring of rosemary or thyme and one bay leaf then insert the remaining two quarters of lemon, rosemary or thyme and bay leaves. Using butcher's twine, tie the legs together to hold the stuffing inside the body cavity. If some celery salt has fallen off during the stuffing process, sprinkle a little more on to replace what was lost.
Place the roasting pan with stuffed chicken in the oven. Roast for one hour then turn the heat down to 350 degrees. Continue roasting chicken for one and one-half hours. Remove chicken from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before carving.
You'll have one of the best Sunday night dinners ever with my Celery Salt Roasted Chicken!