One of the basic skills everyone should have is how to roast a whole chicken. It’s actually not hard.
But if you’re anything like me…
The first time I looked at the whole chicken, I stepped back, and stared at it. “What was that thing sticking out of the end? I have to put my hand INSIDE of this?! Ick. Oh my God, what is this stuff inside of it?! Why did I buy this monstrosity instead of the nicely chopped pieces I normally buy?!”
If you grew up comfortable with whole chickens, I’m happy for you. But I was a bit daunted staring at my first one. But I bravely stuck my hand inside of it and followed the recipe exactly. It turned out all right. Then I started adjusting the recipe, perfected it, and had the moistest, (I hate the word moist), freshly flavored, beautiful chicken in existence. Well, in existence in my life experience.
Even better, I used the extra chicken I chopped off it to make Chicken Pot Pie (click for recipe). Even better than that? I used the carcass to make chicken broth (click here for how to do that). And I had bought the chicken on sale. My sense of thrift was thrilled. Meat for all those meals plus chicken broth out of a $6.00?! Anyway, back to the topic. Step-by-step pictures below (though it’s not hard) and printable recipe at bottom.
Note: you don’t have to make the wild rice and mushrooms. I think it goes perfectly with it. But if you just want to roast the chicken, skip the stuffing it section and do everything else the same. Maybe put a pat or two of butter in the inside cavity.
*Updated this post on to reflect what a reddit reader pointed out: the old advice about letting meat come to room temperature is apparently a myth. I researched it, and found that is true. Thus, I have removed this step. Thanks to the person who pointed that out!
First, start the rice cooking according to package directions. It can simmer while you’re sautéing.
Now, onto the chicken. Remove the chicken from packaging. Clean out inside cavity. (I still don’t like doing this). Wash chicken well with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Place on baking rack in large pan.
Mix seasonings together. Spread 2 Tbsp. butter on chicken breasts under the skin. Sprinkle chicken, inside and out, with seasoning mixture (might not use it all). Lightly stuff chicken with wild rice mixture. Set aside rest to serve with dinner.
Truss chicken. I hate about.com. Really, really hate. I have so many memories of them always being in the top of the search results with horrible articles repeating stuff I already knew. But this step by step instructions link on how to truss a chicken is actually useful.
Classic Roast Chicken with Wild Rice & Mushrooms
- 1 box uncooked wild rice Uncle Ben’s preferred; NOT quick cook type
- Water amount called for on back of box
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 8 oz mushrooms sliced
- 2 Tbsp butter/parsley cubes* plus 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 pounds whole chicken approx. 6
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp poultry seasoning
- 1/2 tsp dried crushed rosemary
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- Mise en place.
- Bring rice (including seasoning pack), water called for on package, and 1 Tbsp. butter to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20-30 min. or until rice is tender (or according to package directions).
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- Heat butter/parsley cubes in skillet and sauté mushrooms over medium heat until they are partially cooked and starting to give their juice, 5-8 min. Use additional 2 tablespoons of butter if needed. Stir cooked mushrooms into rice. Set aside.
- Remove chicken from packaging. Clean out inside cavity. Wash well with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Place on baking rack in large pan.
- Mix seasonings together. Spread 2 Tbsp. butter on chicken breasts under the skin. Sprinkle chicken, inside and out, with seasoning mixture (might not use it all). Lightly stuff chicken with wild rice mixture. Set aside rest to serve with dinner.
- Truss chicken.
- Bake chicken at 425° for 20 minutes. Cover with foil. Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Bake until chicken is 165° and juices run clear. Will usually take approx. 20 min. per pound of chicken. (Check temp! Don’t overcook!).
- Let rest for 10 min. before carving. Serve with (reheated) extra rice and mushroom mixture.