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Spring Chicken!

Sunday was the first day of spring and I got the urge to clean out a few boxes that had been piling up since we got married this past October.  The weather was beautiful, so after coming off a long, freezing cold winter the cleaning didn’t last too long.  I did however come across one of my favorite wedding gifts – my first roasting pan!  It was so nice and shiny and new, I just wasn’t ready to break it out yet.  But, with the start of spring, I thought now was the perfect chance.  So, not only was it my first time using my roasting pan, but this was my first roasted chicken too!  I have to admit, roasting a whole chicken has always sounded very intimidating, (which is why I usually buy them!) but I now firmly believe they are well worth the work.  And to be honest, they’re quite easy to make – really!  They just take a long time to cook…but you don’t need to baste it like you do a turkey, so it’s not a lot of work.  You can easily squeeze in a great workout, freshen up, and make a salad – all before the chicken’s done.  How’s that for time management?

Recipe from Ina Garten – for my first roasted chicken, I didn’t really try to make it my own.  Thanks Ina!

Ingredients

  • 1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
  • 4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
  • Olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

1)  Remove the chicken giblets. Good news – these are usually already in a bag -so you won’t have to do too much dirty work. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry.

2)  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.

3)  Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper.

This is the one step I will add:

4)  Carefully separate the skin from the breast meat.  You might have to use a knife to get it started.  Rub a mixture of olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and thyme under the skin.

5)  Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.

6)  Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.

7)  Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes.

8)  Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.

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