Sunday Roasted Chicken River Cottage Style

“We all eat, and it would be a sad waste of opportunity to eat badly.” – Anna Thomas
Our thought: This is especially true in our world of processed and fast foods.

I love roasted chicken especially a buttery, herby juicy one nothing better with a pile of roasted fingerling potatoes and a side of skillet corn, perfect Sunday dinner and then a good amount leftover for another fantastic dish.  I also made a nice plate of Caesar salad deviled eggs a nice twist on classic deviled eggs with all of the traditional Caesar ingredients into the filling and then topped with crispy toasted bread crumbs…new, different and delicious.

I was happy to hear that Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall will be our new chef to follow at the cooking club and while I’ve made several of his recipes from two of the River Cottage books I look forward to exploring new recipes and what the others in the club cook.  The roasted chicken recipe is easy for anyone that is familiar with roasting a chicken and with a copious amount of garlicky, herby butter slathered over inside and under the skin you can’t go wrong.  The full recipe ( link below) calls for a pretty high temperature of 400º, but in my experience in my smaller electric oven, I always get smoked out even with the exhaust fan on high which usually results in opening a window or two so for this recipe I roasted the chicken and potatoes in my beastly gas oven directly under the hood vent.  So that went well for me and from now on I will not use the gas range oven for storage most of the time…

Hugh’s ingredients are pretty common and found in the fresh herb/produce section and well worth seeking out for a fresh herby flavor throughout the chicken…

1-3 to 4 lb chicken
7  tbsp butter, softened reserve 1 tablespoon for pan sauce if making one with pan drippings
3 branches of rosemary
3-4 garlic cloves
5-6 sage leaves
* optional, a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper

Finely chop all of the herbs and add to the softened butter, smooth with a fork to throughly combine.  Gently separate the skin from the meat of the chicken (look at a YouTube video for instructions if you are not familiar with this process).  Stuff the butter blend under the skin, put some inside the chicken cavity and finally slather the butter all over the chicken.  Season with salt and pepper, roast at 400º for 20 minutes, lower heat to 350º and roast for another 20 minutes or until golden.  Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness and if you need more time check again in another 5-10 minutes.  Remove chicken to platter and allow to rest for 5 or so minutes…if you have lots of unburned pan goodness, deglaze with white wine or chicken stock for a little pan sauce.

A note here, my roasting rack was high enough to place the small baking dish filled with lightly oiled and seasoned fingerling potatoes just under the chicken to catch some of the chicken juices.  Knowing that I could easily slide the rack aside to remove the potatoes if they were finished before the chicken was done which was the case with these little colorful potatoes was a good move, but if you have larger potatoes you can roast along with the chicken taking into account the cooking time for your particular variety adding potatoes 20 minutes or so into the roasting time.