A whole roasting chicken makes a great Sunday dinner - easy, comforting, and excellent for leftovers! Since this Sunday dinner took place in August, I cooked it on the grill and served it with fresh seasonal vegetables. It works just as nicely in the oven, though, so enjoy it year round. And, in addition to enjoying delicious food together, remember the many other benefits of eating together as a family (read the article More Benefits of Family Meals)
Grilled or Roasted Chicken
Fresh corn on the cob
Grilled broccoli with lemon and garlic
Sliced garden-fresh tomatoes with basil and balsamic vinaigrette
1 large roasting chicken (organic and free-range if possible)
extra virgin olive oil
4 T. butter, softened
fresh herbs (parsley, lemon thyme, chives, sage)
fresh garlic, minced
salt and pepper
Preheat the grill or oven to 400.
Wash chicken well inside and out. Pat skin dry with a paper towel.
Meanwhile, make herb butter by chopping herbs finely, mincing garlic, and mixing both into the softened butter. Or, if you choose to use a food processor, process the herbs, garlic, and butter just until creamy. You may also add chopped lemon rind to the herbs for even more flavor. Optionally, for a healthier version, use fresh herbs in a little olive oil (in place of the butter) to create a paste. This herb butter is also delicious on fish and can be frozen if desired. It makes a great finishing touch for grilled steak as well as a topping for vegetables and/or rice.
To prepare the chicken, take a spoon and slide it between the breast and the skin, creating an opening. Put small pieces (about 1/2 tsp. portions) of the herb butter into the opening and slide down the breast with your fingers, about 3-4 pieces of butter per side.
Using a spray or mist bottle filled with olive oil, spray a cooking pan (disposable foil pan if grilling) and then spray the chicken. Season the chicken inside and out with paprika and salt and pepper.
Grill or roast until internal temperature reaches 170 when a thermometer is inserted between the thigh and the breast in the middle of the thigh meat. Remove and allow to rest a minimum of 10-15 minutes. This step allows the juices to reabsorb into the meat, allowing for easier slicing and moister chicken.
Save carcass and leftover chicken for two midweek meals: chicken soup and chicken enchiladas.