Cooking Tips for Roasting a Pastured Chicken (… plus, what to do with the leftovers!)
4 to 6
COOK: 4 to 5 hours
READY: 5+ hours
In this day of flash-frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and mega-packs of already-seasoned wings, the whole roasted chicken seems to be a fading legacy on most tables. And that’s too bad, because there’s really nothing as simple or versatile as a roast chicken. In fact, it’s likely that you can enjoy several meals from the one unassuming bird. Recipes abound, but the main thing is to give it a bit of seasoning and pop it in the oven.
Ingredients and Directions
FROM LISA WHEELER: Seasoning can be as simple as rubbing some olive oil, softened butter, or refined coconut oil all over the bird. This will make a crispy, delicious skin (you may need to dry it with a paper towel first, to make this process easier). Then rub some salt and pepper under the breast skin and sprinkle more on the surface of the chicken. You can toss garlic, onion, carrots, celery, or even lemon and fresh herbs into the cavity and around the bird, but that’s all optional.
For a tidy look, tie the legs together with twine.
Roast at 375º for 1 to 1.5 hours (in my experience, pastured fowl cooks faster than conventional, but your mileage may vary) or 275º for 4 to 5 hours.
You can test for doneness with a thermometer if you have it — the middle of the thigh meat should read about 165º. If you don’t have a thermometer, cut the skin where the leg and breast meet, separate the thigh from the breast a bit, and look at the juices — they should be clear, not pink.
When it’s done, remove it and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.
You can make gravy from the pan drippings if you like. That’s it!
Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to five days (usually), and make wonderful sandwiches, Chicken Alfredo, or even salad toppings. Don’t toss the bones! Save the carcass for nourishing bone broth, then add veggies, any leftover bits of meat, and your favorite seasonings (I like bay leaf, thyme and marjoram) and enjoy a healthy, immune-boosting, gut-healing meal. Not ready for soup yet? Cool the broth and freeze (leave plenty of headspace in jars, or use quality zipper freezer bags), and add to winter recipes as needed. Check our shop for pastured chicken, and enjoy a return to quality, delicious, traditional cooking.