Not much beats the incredible smell of a roasting chicken with fresh herbs. It is so comforting. This is perfect to do on a Sunday when you are home relaxing with the family. I roast two 4 to 5 pound chickens for plenty of leftovers. Chicken pot pie, chicken quesadillas, and chicken salad are easy to make the next day and are sure to be a hit with the kids.
If you have time to marinade the chicken, I recommend using this Ultimate Cookbook recipe. I did not marinade my chickens but used the lemon, garlic and rosemary from the recipe to flavor the meat. I also used a butter and chicken broth soaked cheesecloth to keep the chickens juicy.
To make, remove the giblets from the cavity. Wash inside and out and pat dry. Add salt and pepper and freshly chopped rosemary. Quarter 2 lemons and put one in each chicken. Cut 2 cloves of garlic in half and place in the cavities.
Mix 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of sea salt, 1/2 tablespoon of black pepper and 2 tablespoons of chopped rosemary into a bowl. Loosen the skin around the breast. Coat your hands with the herb and oil mixture and place your fingers under the skin to rub and season the meat. Add some more rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper on top of the skin.
Next truss the chicken by placing a long string under the chicken between the legs and thighs. Bring the string up on each side of the chicken and place along the sides of the legs. Tie the legs together. Place the string under the chicken again in front of the thighs and tie a knot underneath the bird. Tuck the thighs under the chicken. You may want to watch a video online for better instructions. Trussing is not necessary but it makes the bird look better by browning more evenly.
Place parchment paper on the bottom of your roasting pan for easy cleanup. Add sliced yellow onions on the paper and season with salt, pepper and olive oil. Place the chickens on top of the onions. The onions will brown when they cook.
Melt one stick of organic butter and pour half a carton of chicken broth on top the butter. Mix so the butter is not as clumpy. Submerge the cheesecloth in the butter broth mixture and then place the cloth over the chicken breasts. You can use white wine instead of broth.
Cook the chickens for 1 to 1 1/2 hour at 425 degrees. Every 30 minutes pour more butter-broth on the cheesecloth. The last 20 or 30 minutes, remove the cheesecloth to allow the breasts to brown. The chickens are done when the juices are clear when you pierce the skin between the leg and thigh. Do not over cook. I use a meat thermometer to roughly gauge the temperature.
Let the chickens cool while you prepare the platter. Add kale on the platter or sauté some croutons in olive oil to place under the chicken. Either is delicious. Of course, the kale is a healthier option if you eat it.