Did you know that a whole chicken is actually less expensive than its individual parts? That’s right; you get more for your money when you buy a whole chicken as opposed to just the breasts or thighs. And since both light and dark meats each offer a host of health benefits, it’s ideal to eat a variety of cuts. The white meat contains lean protein, and the dark meat offers more minerals, like iron and zinc.
This roasted chicken recipe, adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Perfect Roast Chicken, yields a perfectly crispy skin and juicy meat. The sage offers an earthy note, and the lemon infuses its signature freshness. Cook this dish with root vegetables for a complete one-pan meal (see variations). Transform leftovers into chicken salad and the carcass into a soothing stock.
Sage & Lemon Roasted Chicken
3½ pound chicken, organic if possible
Olive oil, to taste
Sea salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
1 small bunch fresh sage
½ cup chicken stock or water
- Preheat the oven to 475°F.
- Place the chicken in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper, massaging the seasonings into the inside and outside of the bird.
- Cut the lemon in half, and carefully prick the inside of the lemon halves with the tip of a sharp knife. Squeeze juice from one of the lemons or half from both over the chicken. Place both halves inside the chicken’s cavity, along with the sage.
- Add the stock or water to the pan to keep the pan from burning. Place the chicken in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 400°F.
- Cook the chicken for 1 hour and 20 minutes. The internal temperature should register at 165°F.
- When cooked, remove the pan from the oven, and transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Cover the chicken with a layer of foil or a tea towel and let it rest for about 15 minutes. Carve and serve.
- Whole Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables. Chop 1 large onion, 4 medium carrots and 3 to 4 sweet potatoes into 1- to 1¼-inch chunks. After preheating the oven, place the chopped vegetables into the roasting pan. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Spread in a single layer. Rest the whole chicken on top of the vegetables and proceed to seasoning in Step 2. Do not add the stock or water. Remove from the oven when the chicken is cooked through and the veggies are tender.
- Whole Roasted Chicken with Fresh Thyme. Switch up the flavor profile by replacing the sage with a small bunch of fresh thyme. You can also season the skin with a sprinkle of thyme leaves.
- Whole Roasted Chicken with Coconut Oil. After you place the chicken in the roasting pan, brush chicken with melted coconut oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste (omit the lemon or replace it with lime). Proceed as directed.
If your chicken is more or less than 3½ pounds, you may have to adjust the cooking time just a bit. Smaller chickens (around 3 pounds) will probably take about 1 hour and 10 to 15 minutes to cook. A chicken that’s closer to 4 pounds may need an additional 5 to 10 minutes. A meat thermometer can be helpful, especially if you’ve never made a whole chicken before. Otherwise, simply check that the juices run clear and the meat is opaque and fully cooked through before serving
Chicken is high in protein, keeping you satiated and your blood sugar levels stable. White meat is low in calories and in saturated fat, and the dark meat contains minerals like iron, zinc, and selenium, as well as vitamins including A, K, and the B complex. Pair this dish with healthy sides, such as roasted vegetables or steamed leafy greens, to create a healthy and satisfying meal.
Use your time wisely! Prep the chicken, pop it in the oven, and let the heat do the rest. You can do a lot with the hour and 20 minutes that your chicken is roasting—steam veggies for the week, clean your closet, or relax with a cup of tea. Just don’t wander out of earshot of your timer!